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Hundreds of artists demonstrating how they work
18 – 21 July
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Editor Steve Pill Senior Art Editor Chloë Collyer Assistant Editor Terri Eaton email@example.com With thanks to... Alexander Adams, Louise Balaam, Liz Balkwill, Grahame Booth, Neil Hall, Mark Harrison, Gareth Iwan Jones, Martin Kinnear, Ewan McClure, Julia McDonald, Barbara Morden, Paul Moyse and Matthew Sheppard
n hindsight, we were silly to think it would be any other way. An en plein air painting special. In England. For our summer issue. It was always going to rain, really, wasn’t it? In the TV adaptation of this editor’s letter, we could make a comedic and rather quick cut at this point to a close up of the driving rain hammering against our car window, as myself and our photographer Neil inched slowly up the A12 from London to Constable country and beyond. The plan, as you will discover on page 15, was to take four of the UK’s leading plein air painters out on location so we could find out exactly how they approach a new scene, from the materials they use to the techniques they employ. I joined Roy Connelly and Paul Banning for the first day at Pin Mill in Suffolk, a spot favoured by the late, great Edward Seago for its beautiful big skies and plentiful moored boats. Both artists were complete professionals throughout, while we took their photos and pestered them to share their secrets for painting in the drizzle. Given that we had set out to inspire you by showing two artists at work in a historic location on a glorious day, it didn’t quite go according to plan. Nevertheless, I hope what we offer you is something more honest and useful instead. Paint outdoors this summer and there’s GET IN TOUCH! or new work to always a chance it might rain. But with the Got an art-related story to tell e easy ways: thre of one advice from our four artists, you should be share? Contact us in prepared for every eventuality.
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COVER IMAGES Painting on location in Bath and Suffolk with (clockwise from top left) Antony Bridge, Valérie Pirlot, Paul Banning and Roy Connelly. Photos: Gareth Iwan Jones and Neil Hall.
LOUISE BALAAM PHOTO: JOHN CARUANA
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Louise is a member of both the Royal West of England Academy and the New English Art Club. Her award-winning landscape work is an attempt to make an emotional response to the natural world. The oil sketches of John Constable are a key influence on Louise’s practice, so she was the perfect person to explain his techniques for our feature on page 50. Louise’s latest solo exhibition, Cornish Light, runs until 6 July at Cadogan Contemporary, London SW7. www.louisebalaam.co.uk
Artists & Illustrators 3
RELEASE YOUR ARTISTIC POTENTIAL
Beginners’ Drawing (B1)
Drawing for Children Part 2 (YA2)
Pet Portraits Diploma (D5)
Beginners’ Painting (B2)
Graphic Design Art Diploma (D3)
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History of Art Diploma (D4)
Portrait Certificate (C7)
Cartooning (D2) Chinese Brush Painting (C10)
Illustrating Children’s Books Diploma (D6)
Science Fiction and Fantasy Certificate (C13)
Colour Awareness (B3)
Coloured Pencil Certificate (C12)
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Watercolour Diploma (D8)
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£500 of cours and a paint bo es x– see page 24
FEATURES 15 PLEIN AIR CHALLENGE Will four leading painters pass the test?
26 DAME LAURA KNIGHT Preview the new National Portrait Gallery show
30 ARTISTS OF THE YEAR 2013 With the chance to win your own solo exhibition
32 VALERY KOROSHILOV Catch up with our Artist of the Year 2010
35 SEASIDE ART GUIDE Top art courses and galleries by the coast
TECHNIQUES 41 TIP OF THE MONTH Our 33-page practical art section begins here
42 TALKING TECHNIQUES With oil painter Luke Martineau
48 WATERCOLOUR SKETCHBOOKS Pick the perfect option
50 OIL SKETCHING WITH CONSTABLE Five great lessons from the English master
54 HOW TO PAINT SUMMER SHADOWS A great technique to add depth to your picture
56 MASTERCLASS How to capture crashing waves on canvas
60 OLD MASTERS, NEW IDEAS The Norfolk Painting School takes on Vermeer
64 OPEN SKETCHBOOKS Colin Allbrook shares his award-winning works
65 LEARN SOMETHING NEW A five-minute guide to painting ceramics
66 GATHERING INFORMATION How to make your reference material count
70 A STILL LIFE IN 8 STEPS Find out how a ‘notan’ can help your painting
73 WINNING WAYS Naomi Tydeman RI reveals her methods
74 TROUBLESHOOTING Save your failed paintings with our great guide
REGULARS 6 YOUR LETTERS 9 THE DIARY 24 COMPETITION 38 PORTFOLIO PLUS 82 MY LIFE IN ART With top fashion illustrator Jason Brooks
SUMMER 2013 Artists & Illustrators 5
Your Letters… Letter of the month RE: HOW TO PAINT LIKE A MASTER, ISSUE 327 I have just had the most inspiring five days! Having seen the advertisement for courses at the Norfolk Painting School in Artists & Illustrators many times in the past, I signed up for a class. The school was run professionally, keeping to a planned timetable, with breaks for coffee and lunch. At times, we were so keen to carry on painting rather than stopping for breaks, that the lights were turned off and we were literally ushered out… All in good humour! Martin Kinnear was hugely knowledgeable and very concerned that we all understood how to progress. We worked hard and, by the end of the week, had a variety of paintings to take home, plus a vast amount of knowledge. I hadn’t tackled landscapes before and so I was particularly pleased with The Jetty (left), a study I made after the painter Edward Seago. The bonus, and fabulous surprise, was seeing Martin on your front cover a few days later! So, readers, if you are feeling in a rut or in need of further guidance, grab an opportunity like this – it will do wonders for you. Wendy Parkin, via email
RE: PAINT WITH US!, ISSUE 326 When I read this article, it brought back very happy memories of a day when three classmates from my art class and I decided to go to Grazalema, a small village in Andalucia. It was the village’s first Pintura Rápida and our first attempt at this now very popular pastime for artists during the summer. We found a good vantage point in the gardens of a hotel, set up our easels and painted. We started to panic at about 4pm, as the canvases had to be displayed in the church plaza by 5pm and no one was near finished! Around 4.30pm, while we were furiously adding final brushstrokes, a swarm of flies descended and stuck to our wet canvases. Panic! Did anyone have tweezers? No! We eventually arrived in the plaza to display our works. It was one of the most memorable days of painting in my life. We became friends for life and still reminisce about the fun day we had. I encourage anyone who is able to take part and have a go at Pintar Rapido in London. But take a fly spray, just in case! Barbara Marie, Andalucia, Spain. www.pet-portraitart.com If you want to take Barbara’s recommendation and join the Artists & Illustrators team at Pintar Rapido in London on 13 July, you can sign up today at www.pintarrapido.com.
RE: MAKING GREAT PORTRAITS, ISSUE 326 I began watercolour classes last September and I’ve been enjoying learning how to use the medium. I try to keep to a limited palette and I’m learning how to use the brush. The portrait edition caught my eye, as I have just been painting a study of my friend in a local café (above). I could relate to the article about being dissatisfied with a finished work. I can see plenty of faults in this one, but I wanted to share my enthusiasm for painting. Helen Townsend, via email RE: LONDON ART COLLEGE AD, ISSUE 326 I was struck dumb when I opened this month’s magazine. There was a painting of mine staring at me on page 4. I had done the Landscapes course with the London Art College and they used my work for the advert. How nice! Ann Ray, via email
To celebrate our plein air painting special, we asked our Twitter and Facebook followers to pick their favourite spot s to paint outdoors. Here are a few of the best responses… Milford on Sea, looking across to The Needles on the Isle of Wight. I like the sea, ships and atmosphere, with The Needles as a backdrop. Also the wonderful sunsets. Robert Headland, Facebook ----Parco degli Acquedotti in Rome, Italy. One of the city’s largest protected areas with several ancient Roman aqueducts running through large open areas – it hasn’t changed that much since Corot’s time. Kelly Medford, Facebook ----On the beach or windswept cliff tops at home in Cornwall… Love it, you can’t help but be inspired! Julie Wrathall, Twitter ----I’ve just got back from Greenwich Park where I’ve been painting in the flower gardens – there might be one or two squir rel paw prints in the paintings, too. Anita Ives, Facebook ----I’m afraid, my favourite place in indoors… Not en plein air. Unless I am using acrylic, in which case being outside is necessary to contain the mess level! Jo Harris, Facebook ----The field opposite my house! Dorothy Charnley, Twitter
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Send a letter or email to the addresses below for the chance to win a £50 GreatArt voucher • POST Your Letters Artists & Illustrators, The Chelsea Magazine Company Ltd., Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TQ • EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org Every month, the writer of the winning letter will receive a £50 gift voucher from our partner GreatArt, who offers the UK’s largest range of art materials with over 40,000 art supplies and regular discounts and promotions. www.greatart.co.uk
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ROMANCE OF THE RAILWAYS Explore some of the most beautiful areas of Britain by train, on journeys that suit you
have seldom heard a train go by and not wished I was on it," wrote Paul Theroux at the beginning of his 1975 classic travelogue The Great Railway Bazaar. Commuters joining the packed services into London may disagree, but there is a growing sense of romance in the idea of travelling around the UK by rail. In 1963, Dr Richard Beeching wrote an infamous report about Britain’s railway system which resulted in the closure of thousands of rail lines and stations across the country. Now, 50 years on, rail travel is becoming more and more popular in the UK as travellers look for a relaxed and scenic way to explore new places. Currently celebrating their tenth anniversary, Railbookers offers tailor made city breaks and holidays by rail in Britain and throughout Europe. Their friendly and experienced consultants have an expert knowledge of the rail network and can suggest the best routes along the way to fit in with your requirements. They have also seen the hotels featured on the website and can make recommendations to suit you and your own personal preferences. Why not take a journey from London up the East Coast Main Line to Edinburgh? The last
section of the journey from Newcastle is considered to be one of the country’s most scenic as the train line hugs the rugged Northumberland coast, passing Lindisfarne before reaching Berwick-upon-Tweed and continuing up into Scotland. Alternatively, gain an insight into the history of Britain with a holiday to Bath, Cardiff, Chester and York or catch a train along the North Wales coast to Holyhead for
Rail travel is becoming more and more popular in the UK as travellers look for a relaxed way to explore new places a ferry to Ireland. Re-discover the golden age of rail travel with a daytrip aboard the historic British Pullman from London Victoria or head north and catch the stunning Royal Scotsman for a luxurious journey through the dramatic scenery of the Scottish Highlands. Tailor made travel allows you to choose a holiday that not only fits in with your
available time and budget, but also gives you the scope to plot your own course and get exactly you want from your journey. Start in one place and return from another, enjoy a round trip taking in your own personal list of must see places, head straight for the coast, or take the slow route and incorporate some fantastic scenery along the way. And if you’d like to head beyond the UK, they can help there too, with hand-picked hotels all over Europe and beyond. Travel from London to Istanbul with stops in Budapest and Bucharest or head across the Straits of Gibraltar to discover the cities and countryside of Morocco. Once you have your perfect holiday or city break planned, you can just sit back and relax, safe in the knowledge that everything is being arranged – just for you. Make the journey an integral part of your holiday in 2013 with Railbookers. For more information on Railbookers or to book your holiday, please call 020 3327 3500 or visit www.railbookers.com
Artists & Illustrators 7
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CALL FOR ENTRIES 2013
Regional collection points across the UK London submission days 6 & 7 September 2013 Application forms and further information at www.parkerharris.co.uk 01372 462190 email@example.com
An exhibition of small works selected by: Two Artists Stephen Farthing RA Eileen Hogan Two Collectors Loyd Grossman Prof. Deborah Swallow
Front Eithne Twomey Front strip strip, (detail), Eithne Twomey
Two Critics Liz Anderson Estelle Lovatt
CALL FOR ENTRIES 2013 OPEN ART EXHIBITIONS
Submit online The Threadneedle Prize
4 April â€“ 4 July
Royal Society of Marine Artists
25 April â€“ 25 July
Society of Wildlife Artists
16 May â€“ 15 Aug
New English Art Club
13 June â€“ 12 Sept
Find out more at: www.mallgalleries.org.uk
Summer Events in Swansea Digwyddiadauâ€™r Haf yn Abertawe Highlights include: Outdoor Performances in Oystermouth Castle: Twelfth Night 7 & 8 August 7.30pm Peter Rabbit 8 August 2pm Jazz and Blues at the Castle 9 August 7.30pm
Maeâ€™r uchafbwyntiau yn cynnwys: Perfformiadau Awyr Agored yng Nghastell Ystumllwynarth: Twelfth Night 7 & 8 Awst 7.30pm Peter Rabbit 8 Awst 2pm Jazz a Blues yn y Castell 9 Awst, 7.30pm
Tickets are on sale now at www.swanseabayfestival.co.uk or 01792 637300 Tocynnae ar werth nawr am www.gwylbaeabertawe.co.uk neu 01792 637300
Artists & Illustrators
the diary ! e c e i p r e t s a m e h t t o Sp An artist’s guide to the month ahead
500 works of art feature in an anonymous charity art show
an you guess the work of a notable contemporary artist at ten paces? Well here’s the chance to put your skills to the test – and raise money for a good cause in the process. this month, the charity Multiple sclerosis trust will be selling more than 500 pieces of original artwork for £45 each online. Measuring 12x12cm, the artworks are displayed anonymously and signed on the reverse so that the identity of the artist will remain under lock-and-key until after the sale ends. an impressive number of professional artists have contributed, including the turner prize-winning land artist richard long cBe and the painter Mali Morris ra.
the first Secret Art Show took place in york in november 2010 and raised a stupendous £20,000. given the success of its premier event, the Ms trust are taking the show to the web this time, so that people from around the country can take part. With a large variety of creative styles and mediums on offer – including oils, watercolours, landscapes, still life and illustration – as well as the opportunity to discover a potential masterpiece, this is definitely one secret worth sharing. the MS Trust Secret Art Show online preview opens 24 June. purchases can be made between 1–31 July at www.mstrust.org.uk/secretartshow
our august issue features colour tips, portraits and georgia o’keeffe – on sale 19 July 2013 Artists & Illustrators 9
ART HITS THE UK STREETS This August, prints of great British artworks will be appearing on thousands of billboards across the country. Art Everywhere is masterminded by Innocent smoothies’ co-founder Richard Reed and designed to flood our streets with art. From 24 June, you can vote for your favourite at www.arteverywhere.org.uk and the most popular 50 will be on display from 10-25 August at sites around the UK. This artist’s impression shows how Lucian Freud’s 1963 self-portrait might look in situ. The project has already attracted some unlikely supporters. “Art is for everyone,” claimed Damien Hirst, a man primarily known for the £50 million diamond-encrusted skull he created.
TIME TO BRANCH OUT St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington has two new shows that celebrate the art of the humble tree. Under the Greenwood runs from 27 July to 5 October and features works by John Constable and Paul Sandby. A collection of recent tree paintings follows in the autumn. www.stbarbe-museum.org.uk
Put a spell on you Hallowe’en has come early to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Its forthcoming exhibition, Witches and Wicked Bodies, opens on 27 July and celebrates our painterly fascination with the darker arts through the ages. The exhibition will be divided into six themes, with Hideous Hags and Beautiful Witches including unsettling works by Goya, and a section on raising the dead featuring John William Waterhouse’s 1886 painting, The Magic Circle (right). Witches and Wicked Bodies runs until 3 November. www.nationalgalleries.org
BEACH READS THE SUMMER’S BEST NEW ARTY PAGE TURNERS Gluck by Diana Souhami A talented yet eccentric painter who mixed in high society circles, Hannah “Gluck” Gluckstein’s life is ripe for exploring here. Quercus, £9.99
The Loves of the Artists by Jonathan Jones The Guardian’s art critic uncovers the passionate side of the Renaissance masters, from Botticelli’s love affairs to Da Vinci’s scandals. Simon & Schuster, £30
IF YOU HAVE AN ART-RELATED STORY, EMAIL IT TO THE TEAM ON INFO@ARTISTSANDILLUSTRATORS.CO.UK 10 Artists
© TATE, LONDON 2012
Asunder by Chloe Aridjis Art lover Marie is a museum guard at London’s National Gallery. A trip to Paris tears her world apart in this strange and haunting new novel. Chatto & Windus, £14.99
24 13 J SE UN PT E EM — BE R
CHOOSE FROM HUNDREDS OF ART AND DESIGN COURSES SPREAD OVER 12 WEEKS
CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS COLLEGE OF ARTS & DESIGN SUMMER SCHOOL Over 500 sessions are held for beginners through to professionals: Animation • Architecture • Business Skills • Ceramics • Computing • Creative Process • Drawing • Fashion • Film And Video • Fine Art • Graphic Design • Illustration • Interior Design • Jewellery • Painting • Performance • Photography • Portfolio Preparation • Printmaking • Product Design • Sculpture • Textiles • Theatre Design • Writing
Plus these specialist courses: 13 – 17 Year Olds Summer Arts Camps • 16 – 18 Year Olds • English Plus • Dual City Summer: Barcelona, Istanbul, New York, Milan And Paris • Summer Study Abroad With Credits Option
Summer school web listings and secure online bookings
Ilkley Art Show
• Many free art demonstrations
Painting: ‘Fahran’ by Luca Indraccolo
• More art workshops
SUMMER SCHOOL LONDON ATELIER OF REPRESENTATIONAL ART - SUMMER SCHOOL 2013
Study with the London Atelier tutors learning professional drawing and painting techniques during the summer break. Please visit our website for more information: www.DrawPaintSculpt.com
Maimeri colours return to the UK... same outstanding quality, same great value EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTOR OF MAIMERI PRODUCTS FOR THE UK. FOR YOUR NEAREST STOCKIST, VISIT WWW.PREMIUMARTBRANDS.COM
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Artists & Illustrators
• An exhibition & sale of works by some of the regions finest artists Advance tickets £3.00, concession £2.00 On the door £3.50, concession £2.50 Tickets valid for both days Artists demonstrating include: Charles Evans, Terry Harrison, Fiona Peart, Tony Hogan, Jeremy Taylor, Nigel Overton, Fri 16th & Peter Woolley Sat 17th and many more! August 2013 Supported by: Pip Seymour Acrylics, Winsor & Newton, 10am – 4pm The Winter Gardens, Derwent, Loxley, Artmaster, Ilkley, Hahnemuhle, Caran D’Ache, West Yorkshire Premium art brands, Cheddar Painting Holidays, Yew Tree Studios. The Ilkley Art Show Book your tickets on 01943 609031 email@example.com • www.theartshops.co.uk
NEWS IN BRIEF • The Society for All Artists (SAA) event It’s All About Art heads to London’s Business Design Centre (25-27 July) and Belfast’s Europa Hotel (27-28 September). You can test new products and watch demos by artists including Geoff Kersey. • Digital submissions for this year’s New English Art Club annual exhibition are now open. Submit up to six paintings online at mallgalleries.org. uk for the exhibition on 29 November to 8 December.
DRAWN TO HOPPER
A fantastic new book explores the artistic methods of one of America’s greatest painters. Published by Yale to coincide with a touring exhibition of the same name, Hopper Drawing collects together the preparatory sketches behind his many of his key paintings and explores the sources of his inspirations too. Pictured above is a rare first study for his most popular painting, Nighthawks, completed in chalk and charcoal.
WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, NEW YORK; PURCHASE AND GIFT OF JOSEPHINE N. HOPPER BY EXCHANGE 2011.65
Face to face in London
2-4-1 tickets Don’t miss the great new Pintar Rapido event on 13-14 July. You can still sign up to join more than 300 artists painting on the streets of London. Readers can also claim two-for-one tickets for the exhibition by visiting www.pintarrapido.com/offers
Two major exhibitions of self-portraits open in London this month. Stranger runs from 5 July to 31 August at Flowers Gallery and includes likenesses of painters such as Maggi Hambling, Tai-Shan Schierenberg and Claerwen James (left). Meanwhile, the Ruth Borchard SelfPortrait Competition returns to Kings Place Gallery from 21 June to 22 September. The £10,000 first prize will be announced next month.
• There are still places on the Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design Summer School courses. Don’t miss the chance to study at this iconic institution – visit csm.arts.ac.uk to book courses in life drawing, printmaking and more. • Avent Art has launched a new painting competition with a £5,000 ﬁrst prize. Iconic Britain 2013 is a search for an iconic image of Britain, from a face to a landmark. Submit your work online at aventart.com before 30 September. • Head to leithschoolofart.co.uk where there are still places available in its summer school. Topics include Investigating Colour (22-26 July) and Large Scale Portraits (12-16 August).
WHY NOT CREATE AN ONLINE ART PORTFOLIO? VISIT WWW.ARTISTSANDILLUSTRATORS.CO.UK/REGISTER Artists & Illustrators 13
DEDHAM HALL 2013
Come to Dedham Hall where we offer tutored courses run by an ever increasing number of tutors that include John Yardley, Alvaro Castagnet, Soraya French, Paul Banning, Roger Dellar, Chris Forsey and many more. Dedham Hall is situated Riverside Flowers, Dedham by Chris Forsey in the beautiful vale of Dedham within easy reach of many charming coastal locations where you will find everything from wonderful Thames barges to creeks and grand river views. Dedham Hall is renowned for its lovely studio great accommodation and excellent food. For more information, please contact Jim or Wendy Sarton on (01206) 323027 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Artists & Illustrators
plein air challenge
Plein Air e g n e l l a Ch
For our summer issue, we asked four leading landscape artists to join us painting outdoors in Bath and Suffolk. Over the next 10 pages, Roy Connelly, Paul Banning, ValĂŠrie Pirlot and Antony Bridge share advice, demonstrate techniques and even weather the odd downpourâ€Ś
Artists & Illustrators 15
plein air challenge
DAY 1: PIN MILL, SUFFOLK
lein air painting is best enjoyed on a balmy summer’s day, so as we drive over to the first of our two painting days, this one at Pin Mill in Suffolk, the sheet rain battering the car windscreen is not exactly what we had in mind. Thankfully, the artists taking part are feeling slightly more optimistic. Roy Connelly is the founder of the Plein Air Brotherhood and a fan of painting in all weather for the challenges it presents. Fully kitted out in a fleece, waterproof and sturdy boots, he is cheerily upbeat about the afternoon’s prospects. “It’s fine,” he says, as rain trickles down our noses. “This is typical August weather.” Even Paul Banning, a veteran artist more accustomed to painting in hotter climes like Trinidad or Dubai, is looking for the silver lining of the grey clouds overhead. “Working in layers is going to be very difficult to do today but I’ll have a go and see what comes out.” Pin Mill was chosen for the variety of options that it can offer the plein air painter. The nearby Grade II-listed Butt & Oyster pub dates back to the 1600s, but it was in the 20th century that the area really began to attract leading landscape painters, such as Edward Wesson, Edward Seago and John Yardley. And as we make our way down the hill to the bay, it is easy to see why.
STARTING OUT At low tide, stepping out on to the ‘hard’ (a section of otherwise muddy shoreline for mooring ships) offers a panoramic view up and down the river,
ABOVE Paul and Roy pick their spots and make preliminary sketches
as those famed big skies of Suffolk stretch out before you. Meanwhile, Thames sailing barges and small fi shing boats lie idle on the mudflats, creating plentiful reflections in the puddles, even on a grey day like this. As Paul settles for a spot of shelter under one of the large hulls in the boat builder’s yard, we join Roy out on the ‘hard’. Facing downriver, he has set up his pochade box on a tripod and begun squeezing out tubes of oil colours on to his palette in a very methodical order. “If your palette is laid out the same
every single time, it is much easier,” he says of painting facing into the light. Roy has a selection of small oil boards in his bag and, with the rain still coming down, he waits for the last possible second to pull one out. “If it starts raining when you are already painting and you’ve got a coating of oil paint down on the board, it’s not so much of a problem,” he explains. “But if water gets onto the ground before you start painting, it can bond
THE ARTISTS: DAY 1
A member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, this plein air veteran has painted outdoors in India, the Middle East and beyond. Paul’s next watercolour class at Dedham Hall, Essex, runs from 6-13 July. www.paulbanning.co.uk
Roy is a self-confessed “all weather” artist and founder of the Plein Air Brotherhood, a group of like-minded painters. His Craft of the Landscape Painter course will be on 22 September at Assington Mill, Suffolk. www.royconnelly.com
plein air challenge
LOCATION: DAY 1 with the ground and you can get a resist effect that’s hard to work against.” With a pinkish beige ground wiped across the board, he begins plotting out the elements of his scene with the darkest tonal values, including the barges, the trees and the jetty. “The paint has got a bit of glaze medium in it, which hopefully by the end will be starting to dry and I’ll be able to get some lighter colours on top to lift it up. At the moment, I’m just trying to get the tone right and get the main elements in the right place – then I’ll start joining it all together.” Despite this purposeful start, Paul struggles to pinpoint why he has
Pin Mill is a tiny hamlet on the banks of the River Orwell in Suffolk. The expansive harbour and resting barges combined to make it a favourite spot for the 20th century masters Edward Seago and Edward Wesson to paint.
colour suggestions chosen this particular scene to paint. “There’s something about it that’s not easy to explain in words, which is why I’m painting it. My wife’s a writer, she can explain things with words, but I explain things with paint.”
Facing down river, Roy has set up his pochade box on a tripod and begun squeezing out oils
left The cloudy skies over Pin Mill begin to brighten
Back at the boatyard, Paul has been sizing up possible compositions through a homemade cardboard viewfinder. On a sheet of watercolour paper that is bulldog-clipped to his board, he has sketched a seemingly random arrangement of verticals and horizontals that he calls “scribbles”. Aside from the shelter of the boat, it is a second jetty and a damaged white rowing boat that have caught Paul’s attention here and become the focus for his watercolour sketch. Mixing colour on an old Spencer-Ford palette with deep wells, he begins to sweep in very dilute washes of colour across the page, so faint that they barely suggest the rich tones of the scene in front of him. “What I’m trying to do is capture the subtlety of light,” he says. “If you’ve got these light washes as your base, then you’ve got a lovely sense of colour to work with. It has to dry though, otherwise, if I put a dark straight down, it would just melt into what’s there.” “I tend to paint with a fairly minimal number of colours. So I use a yellow and an orange, Permanent Rose and Winsor Blue, and then I have a mixed green if I need it, and I basically work with those five and make other colours out of them by using complementaries.” As we talk, the clouds are parting at a fair speed and expanses of blue sky are appearing at last. The rain has stopped but the air remains damp, which means Paul will be limited to
Artists & Illustrators 17
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the number of layers he can apply, as each needs time to dry. Typically he might use 15 or 20 layers to build an intense depth to his colours, but today will require a more direct approach. “If you are painting en plein air, you’ve got to be patient and know what it is you want to get and try and capture that, rather than being dictated to by the light changing. Over three hours, the sky will change completely and new highlights will come up.”
brightening up Out on the ‘hard’, Roy is having to adjust to the new conditions. With the sun in his eyes now, he has had to spin his pochade box around a quarter turn on the tripod and begin painting the same scene side on. “Whenever I do this, people will come up behind me and stare for ages in the direction [that the panel is now facing] and try to see what it is I’m painting…” We’re at the mid-point of the afternoon, a little after 4pm, and Roy isn’t particularly pleased with the
above and top right Roy is forced to rotate his painting to avoid the sun confusing his colour mixing
progress he has made so far. This, he says with a smile, is perfectly normal. “I tend to think of a picture in three stages,” he explains. “At the beginning, I tend to be quite into a subject. Then you get to a sort of muddy middle stage when the happiness curve is at the bottom. As long as you can hold your nerve and keep painting though, the curve comes up again and hopefully you end that picture on a high.” Paul is a little happier with his painting. “I like the way it is turning out but it needs to be drying,” he says, as he steps out from under the boat and flaps his board in the sunlight. Two passersby call out encouragement to him. “That’s a good use for a boat!” “Enjoy the sun while it lasts!” He smiles. “Right, will do…” Since being made redundant from GLC Architects in 1986, Paul has spent more than a quarter of a century honing his technique in both oils and watercolours. At 78, he is now a member of seven art societies, including the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours and the Royal Society of Marine Artists. Painting with
other artists has been a key part of his development. “When you meet up with other painters, you see how they tackle those problems. You learn bits from one and bits from another – the interesting thing is applying them then.” Paul is an admirer of Seago and Wesson, as well as the Impressionists and a host of contemporary painters too. “You have to go in your own direction though,” he advises. “I don’t want to paint like anybody else – I want to paint like me. I’ve always tried to advance my painting along the lines that feel like mine.” Paul has just returned Trinidad, his birthplace, where he held a successful exhibition, selling 27 paintings and getting the chance to produce plenty more while he was there. Today’s cold and wind, however, are proving a bitter contrast to such tropical heat, and a little after 5pm, he calls time on his sketch, vowing to return to it next week when he teaches a course at nearby Dedham Hall.
sticking to your guns After enduring such a wide range of weather conditions in such a small timeframe, it is becoming increasingly clear that the key to becoming a good plein air painter is not only dealing with the elements but also maintaining your focus throughout such changes. In Roy’s case, the grey skies were laid down and he now needed to develop the foreground to finish his sketch. The sun had since lit up the scene, however, so if he rendered the foreground exactly as it appeared it, it would look unnatural.
plein air challenge
ABOVE The view that Roy selected LEFT His finished oil on board sketch
“I’m trying not to paint two pictures on the same board... You need to stick to your guns if the weather changes”
BELOW Paul’s chosen view LEFT His completed watercolour-onpaper painting
“I’m trying not to paint two pictures on the same board,” he explains. “You need to stick to your guns if this happens: finish it off, put it away and get the next board out.” Roy only has time to complete a single painting today, but he would usually spend an entire day completing five or six sketches in different spots. “With the light changing so fast, there are so many different pictures I could have painted that if I can get one of them to work, I’m happy.” He points his brush towards an area in the middle distance where the sun is lighting up the trees. “That’s lovely now. If we hadn’t been talking, I could have just got that line of light in there,” he says, indicating the corresponding point on his board. “It might have been just what this picture needed. Although it hasn’t been like that all day, because I’ve built [the painting up to this stage], I’ve got a chance when something like that happens.” After all of the rain, wind and cold, Roy has inadvertently hit upon the very essence of plein air painting. “If I’d come down here with a camera and took it back to my studio, I’d never have seen that moment. Being here is a very important part of the process.”
Artists & Illustrators 19
plein air challenge
DAY 2: NORTH PARADE, BATH
ollowing the dismal downpours at Pin Mill, we had our fingers crossed that day two of our plein air painting challenge would bear more of a resemblance to a regular summer’s day. Could lightning strike twice? Keeping our fingers crossed and our umbrella in close proximity, we headed to beautiful Bath. Upon arrival, the sun was beating down and the troublesome weather had been left safely in Suffolk. Antony Bridge and Valérie Pirlot were waiting on the banks of the River Avon underneath the historic North Parade terrace. “It’s really when I moved to Bath that I started painting,” says Valérie, who settled here eight years ago. “Inspiration is everywhere and I don’t feel as though I need to go anywhere else.” Antony frequently visits the same spots in his hometown of Malvern, too. “I enjoy getting to know the character of a place and associating certain emotions with specific locations.”
ABOVE Antony lays out his limited colour palette
SELECTING A SCENE Finding shelter beneath a nearby tree, our artists set up their pochade boxes and perch on the same bench like bookends facing in opposite directions. From this spot, there are all sorts of magnificent sights: the calm waters of the River Avon gliding under the arches of Robert Adams’ Pulteney Bridge, pretty canal boats adorned with bunting, and the piercing Gothic spires of Bath Abbey – not to mention kaleidoscopic flowers in the North Parade Gardens.
A pregnant Valérie loads her palette with an assortment of ten oil colours, all water-mixable to avoid working with any hazardous solvents. “I always use the same palette, particularly Ultramarine, Cobalt and Cerulean blues. However, I don’t always use green – I prefer to mix it on the day.” In contrast, Antony is experimenting with a limited palette of only four oil colours – three almost-primaries and white. As he squeezes the first blobs of paint out, there seems to be one obvious colour missing. “I’m working without a blue today,” he says, opting instead for a dark green – Viridian – alongside Titanium White, Cadmium
THE ARTISTS: DAY 2
Founder of the UK Plein Air Society, a member of the Plein Air Brotherhood and owner of top paint box company Pochade.co.uk, this 33-year-old believes Britain is the world’s best place to paint outdoors. www.antonybridge.co.uk
Winner of the Bath Prize 2012’s plein air award, this Belgian painter moved to Bath eight years ago. She is flying the flag for female plein air painters in what she believes is still a male-dominated field. valeriepirlot.blogspot.co.uk
plein air challenge
Red and Cadmium Yellow. “If I mix the white and Viridian with a little bit of red, it seems to work, though I realise it’s a tad experimental.” Both artists are working on small MDF boards: Antony has chosen a white background, while Valérie has opted to apply three coats of acrylic gesso in a neutral grey. “I find a bright, white background a tad unnerving,” she admits. “It’s like staring at a blank screen.” “I also find myself worrying that I won’t have the right size panel for my vision. I’m famous for having too many panels. Today, I have brought 10 different sizes with me. It’s quite physical but at least it keeps me fit.”
FINDING THE HORIZON Antony is excited by strong colour and he understandably overlooks the bounding waters of the river in favour
of the pristine gardens on the other bank. He begins sketching quickly, leaving barely-there brushstrokes to help him establish dominant shapes. It soon becomes clear that an imposing fir tree to the right of the abbey is to be the focal point of his picture. “I work loosely and all over the place to allow for any changes in the light. There’s not much in the way of planning,” he says. “It’s only at the end when something happens and it comes together.” Both Antony and Valérie reference the Impressionists as their inspiration, particularly Edward Seago. Less interested with detail, both artists are motivated by capturing the essence of a setting through a series of thoughtfully chosen brushstrokes. Valérie has chosen to paint the bridge and the glistening river as it thunders across the weir, as well as the surrounding honey-coloured buildings, which are all built from the famous Bath stone. She thinks it is important to plot out the horizon line first of all, as it acts as a backbone for the rest of her picture. “It’s the only thing that will be constant but you need to get that right because it’s difficult to change,” she advises. Making a few token dashes to help gauge her composition, she then dives right in with blocks of colour. “I like to block in very quickly. It’s almost like a race against time because I don’t like empty spaces.”
ABOVE While Antony masters a limited palette, Valérie begins blocking in areas of colour
“The horizon line is the only constant,” says Valérie. “ You need to get it right because it’s diffiult to change”
Like many artists, Valérie normally prefers to work from dark to light but with grey clouds loitering over our previously reliable sunshine, she takes a snap on her camera phone for reference and decides to make a start on the sky – a move that could be considered risky. “My main focus for this painting is the sun, which you can see shining
LOCATION: DAY 2 With elegant Palladian architecture peppering the landscape and the glorious River Avon meandering through the heart of this Somerset city, it’s no wonder Bath was declared a World Heritage site in 1987.
Artists & Illustrators 21
plein air challenge
“I find rainy days the hardest to paint but I still prefer them to blue skies – clear days are too boring!” through. At the moment, I’m very much seeing the architecture as one entity but I hope to create a contrast to the buildings in the clear water.” “The sky sets the tone for the rest of the painting,” she continues. “It’s impossible to accurately represent everything you see but if I decide now what is going to be illuminated then it helps give my painting focus.”
RIGHT AND BELOW With careful observation and a variety of brushes, both Antony and Valérie are making serious progress
CHANGING CONDITIONS Both artists have made fast progress in the first hour, despite the hide-andseek sun making it difficult for them to add light and shadows with confidence. Antony’s palette is now a medley of colours that mirrors the painting itself. An illuminated block of sky sits above the abbey’s spires in the distance, but Antony is still choosing to concentrate on the foreground, in case the light changes drastically. “I know that I want the abbey and sky to be
subdued so that the trees really stand out but, unlike Valérie, I don’t like to add my sky too early.” A brief flurry of rain threatens to cause problems, especially for our pregnant painter, who is fighting with the elements to prevent her watersoluble paints from running. A stooping tree keeps most of the moisture at bay and Valérie has plenty of kitchen roll on hand to gently blot any pesky droplets of rain. “I love painting in all weathers but, since switching paints, I’ve been finding rainy days the hardest to paint. However, I still prefer them to blue skies – clear days are too boring.” 22 Artists
As the clouds begin to disperse, Antony agrees. “I went to Monaco to paint for a couple of weeks and everything was too crisp. “For me, Britain is the best place to paint in the world. I find that sometimes you paint your best paintings in the worst conditions because it becomes instinctive.” President of the UK Plein Air Society and a member of the Plein Air Brotherhood, his passion for painting in the open air was cultivated through a childhood in the Malvern Hills. In 2008, he set himself the challenge to paint outside every day and managed more than 600 days in all weather. “It was sometimes so cold it
plein air challenge
would hurt. A couple of times, I thought to myself, ‘This is it – this is the end of me. I’ll just close my eyes and let it happen,” he joked. As a seasoned master of tackling the elements, he offers some advice to any painters looking to head out into the great outdoors. “Always try and find shelter from behind a tree, hill or dune – like we have today – and walk around before you do your painting. “Sometimes what you want to paint can be so extreme that you know you won’t last more than an hour. If you must work in those conditions, work on a small scale.” Valérie interjects, “But don’t make it harder for yourself when you’re just starting out. You’ll get plenty of occasions to struggle. Don’t feel guilty about being too comfortable.”
MEANINGFUL STROKES Two hours have gone by and Antony’s painting is near completion. He has added enough detail to the abbey to create a sense of familiarity while keeping the trees as the focal point. His painted sky is a mixture of moments that he has seen throughout the day. The 3pm sun sits in the middle of the piece while the threatening clouds of 4pm are represented at the very top of his skyline. “I’m happy with some of the colours I’ve mixed today,” he says. “I’ve learned that I don’t need blue!”
Valérie is hot on his heels. The blocks of colour have been given detail and the water coursing across the weir is captured with just a few marks of white paint. “I always want to do as little as possible,” she says. “It’s like if you had to describe a person in as few words as possible, you’d carefully select the words you use – and that’s what it’s like working en plein air. I want every brushstroke to be meaningful.” “There were times when I thought this painting was beyond repair and I wanted to throw it in the water but then it always goes back on track. I enjoy the struggle of plein air. I hope
OUR TURN!are your Y ’S IT W O N e? Sh n air challeng r plei Inspired by ou s with us : gs and storie tin in pa r oo outd EM AIL o.uk dillustrators.c info @ ar tistsan TWIT TER ine @ AandImagaz FACEBOOK dIllustrators .com/Artists An ww w.facebook ABOVE Valérie (top) and Antony’s finished sketches INSET, TOP LEFT The actual views that they chose
I am never 100% satisfied with my paintings because what would I do next? I hope that when I’m 80 years old, I’ll be at 90%. Until then, I’m enjoying the journey.” A&I
Artists & Illustrators 23
plein air challenge
PLEIN AIR w a r d e z i pr To celebrate our Summer issue, we have £500 of art courses and a luxury paint box to give away
nspired by our plein air painting trips and keen to give it a go yourself? How about a course in St Ives and a luxury portable paint box to get you started? This month, one lucky reader drawn from the hat will win £500 worth of vouchers for courses at the St Ives
PLEIN AIR PRIZE DRAW
For your chance to win this fantastic prize, simply fill in this form and return it to: Plein Air Prize Draw, Artists & Illustrators, The Chelsea Magazine Company Ltd., Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TQ Alternatively you can enter online at: www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/ competitions Name: Address: Postcode: Email: Telephone: Please tick here if you subscribe to Artists & Illustrators The closing date for all entries is 18 July 2013 The winner will be announced in the September 2013 issue of Artists & Illustrators, on sale 16 August 2013. Terms and conditions apply. For full details, go to www.chelseamagazines.com/terms-and-conditions. Please tick here if you would prefer not to be contacted by Artists & Illustrators , the competition sponsor , or carefully selected third parties .
School of Painting, plus a limited edition Jullian thumb box. You can’t get a much more inspirational setting than St Ives with its special quality of light and stunning scenery. And since 1938, the St Ives School of Painting has been teaching in the historic Porthmeor Studios (above right), which overlook the sea. Courses are designed to allow anyone at any level to receive the individual attention needed to develop their skills. Class sizes are limited and the artist tutors are experienced in teaching and adapt to suit the individual. To find out more, call (01736) 797180 or browse their courses online at www.stivesartschool.co.uk. The winner will also receive a thumb box from Jullian. Made from lacquered wood and measuring just 23cm wide, it comes complete with a palette, canvas panel, two brushes and 10 oil paints made exclusively for Jullian by Blocks of Belgium. Find out more about Jullian’s range at www.jullian.co.uk
ZD394 Arte Umbria A&I Half Page Ad_Art & Ill 12/06/2013 11:24 Page 1
T H E L E A D I N G PA I N T I N G H O L I D AY D E S T I N AT I O N
Inspirational courses for both beginners and serious artists in Umbria with exceptional tutors
ituated in the Umbrian hills, the ‘green heart of Italy’, our private 220 acre estate is the stunning backdrop for our painting, sculpture and writing courses. These residential holidays include seven days’ accommodation in our home, an 18th century country house, where the atmosphere is relaxed and stress-free, offering the perfect setting for you to enjoy and develop your creative skills under expert tuition from leading artists and tutors such as Andrew James, Antony Williams, Tom Benjamin, Hashim Akib, Kelly Medford, Janette Phillips, Anastasia Pollard, Caroline Bays, Patrick Cullen, Simon Keeley and Jean Haines! Prices start from £985 for a general course and £1,285 for a Master Class, fully inclusive of tuition, all art materials, full board accommodation, superb local cuisine, wine, free bar and local tours. All one-week courses offer incredible value for money!
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For more details of all 2013/2014 courses email: firstname.lastname@example.org, call Italy: 0039 0763 837347, cellphone: 0039 345 066 5961 or visit: www.arteumbria.com Please follow us on our blog: http://arteumbria.blogspot.com/ and on Twitter@ArteUmbria and our Facebook page Arte Umbria
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Artists & Illustrators 25
dame laura knight
Knight Life From humble beginnings to the pinnacle of the 20th-century art establishment, biographer Barbara C Morden celebrates the career of Dame Laura Knight
©ImperIal War museum, london
dame laura knight left Take Off, 1944, oil on canvas, 182.8x152.4cm opposite page Ruby Loftus Screwing a Breech-Ring, 1943, oil on canvas, 86.3x101.9cm
aura Johnson was born in 1877 into modest, sometimes impoverished circumstances, as her family fortunes rose and fell with those of the Nottingham lace industry. When she died in 1970, just prior to her 94th birthday, obituaries celebrated her as Dame Laura Knight, artist, national celebrity and first female Royal Academician. From infancy she was happiest with a pencil in her hand, possessed of a precocious talent that obtained her admission to the Nottingham School of Art at the age of 13. There, not only did she meet fellow student Harold Knight whom she would marry in 1903, but she also faced perhaps the greatest challenge to her artistic aspirations: the male-dominated art establishment. Later, when resident in the art colonies of Staithes on the North Yorkshire coast and Newlyn in Cornwall, she was able to break free from tradition and convention and pursue her own way of working. That way was eclectic
Laura Knight pursued her own way of working... Eclectic, prolific and responding to seismic changes and prolific, as she responded to the seismic changes in social attitudes, cultural ideas and artistic practice of the 20th century. Some describe Dame Laura Knight as an “English Impressionist”, while the forthcoming National Portrait Gallery exhibition marks her distinction in the genre of 20th-century portraiture. Some enrol her in the feminist cause, but, although often a painter of women, Laura was never political. She had her own agenda. Over the course of her career, Laura’s own irrepressible zest for life found its expression in sunny and breezefilled paintings of children and landscapes; numerous pencil and charcoal sketches; paintings, engravings and prints variously of the theatre, ballet, flamenco dancers,>
Artists & Illustrators 27
dame laura knight ColleCtion of MiriaM U. Hoover and tHe late H. earl Hoover, © reprodUCed witH perMission of tHe estate of daMe laUra KnigHt dBe ra 2013.
Laura Knight enjoyed the bustle and commotion backstage at the ballet as she indulged her obsession to capture the “human form in action”
above Ballet Girl and Dressmaker, 1930, oil on canvas, 96.5x121.9cm 28 Artists
acrobats, clowns and circus animals; designs for railway posters, theatrical costume, commemorative mugs and dinnerware; and finally as a recorder of wartime activity, culminating in her landmark painting of the Nuremberg Trials in 1946. Impulsive and compulsive, she no sooner mastered one thing than she had “got to try something different”. Her art – like her life – was never static, but rather dynamic and fluid. There is progression from Laura’s early “slapdash” application of colour onto over-sized canvases and her, at times, almost casual facility with her pencil or crayon, to a more controlled and disciplined use of line and colour as she continued to capture “the gamut of life” in her work. From the 1920s she became absorbed by the ballet, sketching in the wings and dressing rooms of the theatre, tracing with her pencil the graceful line and movement of the prima ballerinas of the Ballets Russes. Above all, she enjoyed the bustle and commotion
backstage – the riot of costumes, the “sweet smell of the powder and grease paint”, the refraction of light in mirrors – as she indulged her obsession to capture the “human form in action”. Having, as a female student, been condemned to work from inert plaster casts of classical statuary, never from the life model, she now had opportunity to study the female figure, whether clothed, draped or nude – and never inanimate! And it was Laura’s ability to communicate that animation in the most apparently static subject that we explore here. Firstly, we look at the 1921 portrait of Lubov Tchernicheva, a principal dancer with the Diaghilev Ballet, famous for her character roles, notably Cleopatra. The Ballets Russes was notorious for its avant garde performances: music and dance that was exotic even “barbaric”; the dancers’ awkward choreography; the innovative ethnic, geometric and abstract design. This was modernity – shockingly different from classical ballet. While portraying the dancer out of role and in the traditional half-length portrait genre, Laura’s painting of Tchernicheva displays that modernity. The pose is stylised: the almond eyes, the set of the neck and the cant of the head reminiscent of a Byzantine icon, the helmet of hair as severe as in an Egyptian hieroglyph.
Private ColleCtion © reProduCed with Permission of the estate of dame laura Knight dBe ra 2013
dame laura knight At first glance, the figure is composed, yet there is unease here. The oval face jutting awkwardly over the muscular arms into the foreground conveys physical and psychological discomfort. Static she may be, but any moment she might break free, unfold, rise and leave. The same tension between preoccupation and occupation is observed in Ballet Girl and Dressmaker. Here the sitter was the professional model Barbara Bonnar, accompanied by Laura’s own dressmaker. The dancer is caught mid-glance, her body arrested in movement, while her dressmaker fixes a flounce on the skirt. This is no fragile ballerina but an athlete, with muscles developed and ready to flex, her vigorous legs and hands extended forward. Notwithstanding the delicate colour harmonies, the pink tights, ballet shoes and petal-like net of the skirt, here there is authority, power and control. The dresser shares the blue-black harmonies of the background drape, but does not recede into it. Her head is at an equal level with that of her companion, their equally prominent hands connected through the sight line that guides us from the dresser’s elevated elbow, down through her right hand to connect with the
WIN! To celebrate the launch of the forthcoming Laura Knight Portraits exhibition, we have partnered with the National Portrait Gallery and Arte Umbria to offer you the chance to win a fantastic portrait-painting holiday – worth £1,285. one lucky entrant will win a place on arte umbria’s week-long course with the royal society of Portrait Painters’ vice president andrew James (above) in april 2014. the prize covers full-board accommodation (including wine), day trips, tuition, plus all the artists’ quality materials you need. for more details, visit www.arteumbria.com. entry forms will be available at the start of the Laura Knight Portraits exhibition on the national Portrait gallery’s ground floor.
dancer’s left and to the toe of her ballet shoe. In that line is pivoted physical and professional equality. Significantly, the line continues beyond the shoe, downwards with the fabric to the cotton reel at the margin, drawing the viewer into their time and space to complete the triangle. A comparable effect can be observed in Take Off, a painting from Laura Knight’s time as a war artist. Here the balance between the drag and thrust of the aeroplane before take off is sustained in the sight line, which moves from the spotlight through to the hand on the controls, turning back on itself to focus on the face of the airman. The throbbing power of the engine is concentrated in his profile as, held back from full throttle, it gathers momentum for flight. In this way an illustration of a technical operation becomes, for the viewer, a current operational experience. These examples illustrate a fundamental characteristic of the art of Dame Laura Knight: the fusion of the monumental and the dynamic. While each image – whether male or female, public or private – has the iconic status of a memorial, each captures a dramatic present: a thing not of “then” but of “now”. In even the most seemingly static image, there is a pulsating lifeline reaching out to us. When you view her art, you grasp life! Barbara is the author of the forthcoming biography, Laura Knight: A Life, published by McNidder & Grace. Laura Knight Portraits runs from 11 July to 13 October 2013 at the National Portrait Gallery, London WC2, and then tours. www.npg.org.uk
above Lubov Tchernicheva, 1921, oil on canvas, 81x68cm
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Artists & I L L U S T R A T O R S
Artists of the YeAr 2013 ! n i w & t n i a P
Submit your best paintings for the chance to win art materials, cash prizes, representation and a place in our Mall Galleries exhibition
he sixth annual Artists & Illustrators Artists of the Year competition is underway and we have already started to receive some top works of art. This year, we have a host of great prizes to tempt you – including the opportunity to show your artwork in The Artists of the Year Annual Exhibition at Mall Galleries next January. The search is a simple one: we are looking for artists to show us their best recent works. It is an open submission, which means there are no specific categories – provided your work has been created using one of the mediums specified on the opposite page, it can be on any subject. All we are looking for is an original idea and a good level of technical ability. This year, we have introduced a small entry fee in line with the other major national art competitions. However, members of our Portfolio Plus scheme can enter multiple works free of charge. For more details on how to become a member today, please visit www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/register.
below In January, our Artists of the Year 2013 exhibition will be held in the Mall Galleries’ new Threadneedle Space
• £1,000 cash first prize • Two-week exhibition at the prestigious Mall Galleries near Buckingham Palace for up to 50 artists • Gallery representation and a solo exhibition at the Osborne Studio Gallery in Knightsbridge • An eight-day river cruise for two on the romantic Danube courtesy of Viking River Cruises • £500 worth of bespoke canvases courtesy of the leading made-to-measure canvas suppliers Harris Moore Canvases Ltd. • £500 worth of art materials courtesy of the leading online art materials retailer GreatArt • Successful artists and their works will be featured prominently in Artists & Illustrators magazine • Winners will each receive one year’s complimentary membership of Portfolio Plus • All entrants will receive an exclusive invitation to our annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries
artists of the year 2013 LEFT Our Artist of the Year 2012, Linda Alexander, sets to work on her next masterpiece
Artists & I L L U S T R A T O R S
ARTISTS OF THE YEAR 2013 Name Address
Postcode Date of Birth Email
HOW TO ENTER
There are two ways to enter this year’s competition:
Title of work
Take a digital photograph of your artwork(s). Go to our website at www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/2013. Select whether or not you are a Portfolio Plus member. You will be taken to a new screen. Complete the form, taking care to fill in all requested fields, attach your artworks (up to a maximum of nine per form) and complete your payment information (if applicable). Select the “Submit” button to send us your entries.
Size of work
PLEASE TICK AND COMPLETE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING THREE OPTIONS: 1. I AM A PORTFOLIO PLUS MEMBER Entry is free to all existing Portfolio Plus members. Please complete your unique Portfolio Plus URL here: www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/
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Complete the entry form opposite and post it, along with a photograph or print of your artwork (and cheque if applicable), to:
Not a member? Sign-up today at: www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/register
2. I WOULD LIKE TO PAY BY CHEQUE
Artists of the Year 2013, Artists & Illustrators, The Chelsea Magazine Company Ltd., Jubilee House, 2 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TQ
PHOTO: ROSIE BARNETT
Entries will only be accepted in one or more of the following mediums: all water-based mediums (including watercolours), oils, acrylics, gouache, all drawing mediums (including pastels and charcoal), collage and all forms of printmaking. You may submit as many entries as you like but you MUST complete a separate form for each entry. Photocopied forms are accepted. The closing date for entries is 12 September 2013. Please DO NOT send us your original artwork at this time – instead send prints of your work, no larger than A4 in size. Original works must be available to send for the shortlisting stage in September 2013 and display in January 2014, otherwise the work will be disqualified. Unfortunately, we are unable to return any original paintings if they are mistakenly sent at the initial round of judging. We cannot offer criticism or individual Year 2010 feedback at this stage either. e th of t is rt A Our ng –
DON’T MISS inni on life after w 32 see page
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Signature Date Please tick if you are a subscriber to Artists & Illustrators The winner will be announced in the December issue, on sale 8 November 2013. Terms and conditions apply. For full details, go to www.chelseamagazines.com/terms-and-conditions. Please tick here if you would prefer not to be contacted by Artists & Illustrators
, the competition sponsors
, or carefully selected third parties
Artists & Illustrators 31
With the search for the Artists of the Year 2013 well underway, we caught up with one of our previous winners, 2010’s Valery Koroshilov, to see how his career has progressed
inning an art competition is more than just an opportunity to lay your hands on a monetary prize or column inches in a magazine. The real satisfaction comes from being recognised for your passion and dedication. It’s not a lottery. You’ve earned whatever accolade is bestowed upon you. For Valery Koroshilov, the title was the Artists & Illustrators Artist of the Year 2010. His Ecce Homo triumphed over more than 3,000 other entries to be crowned the winner of our annual competition three years ago. A tribute to the Italian Renaissance painter Andrea Mantegna, the picture’s gentle shifts in skin tone and confident brushstrokes particularly impressed our judges. Born in the Urals of Russia, Valery studied to be an architect in Moscow before becoming a full-time artist. Glancing at his portfolio, the work is a festival of colour and a celebration of beauty, from balmy beach scenes to stunning still lifes, rich with shadows and drama. His talent is clear. But how has the artist been filling his days since he last graced our pages? And what did he take away from the competition? “The most important thing I got as result of winning Artist of the Year was confidence,” says Valery. “It proved my paintings are interesting and my efforts are valuable.” It wasn’t just Valery who believed in the quality of his work. Upon seeing Ecce Homo in Artists & Illustrators, a private collector in France commissioned a hefty series of 18 paintings from the artist that would be installed in his personal residence in Neuilly-sur-Seine. “Though I was working on lots of decorative pieces, the project was centred around a portrait of the client,” 32 Artists
above Valery’s 2010 winning work, Ecce Homo, oil on linen, 100x100cm below Valery in his studio with work-inprogress, Alexy
Valery explains. “I finished everything in October last year, but due to time constraints, I had to frequently flit from figurative painting to still life.” Did the constant shift in subject spoil his momentum? “I took a leaf out of Picasso’s book. If he could switch between Cubist, Surrealist and Neoclassical styles within a matter of days, then surely I had nothing to complain about.” Not one to shy away from a challenge, Valery has recently undertaken his biggest project to date: an art deco-inspired sculptural wall panel, which he completed in February.
artists of the year 2013
“Upon seeing Valery’s winning work in Artists & Illustrators, a private collector in France commissioned 18 paintings from him” “I kept saying to the client that I wasn’t a sculptor but he insisted. It was like when the Pope offered Michelangelo the opportunity to paint the Sistine Chapel,” he jokes. Valery looked to many artists for inspiration before arriving at Maurice Picaud’s plaque for the façade of the famous Folies Bergère music hall in Paris. He admits that the sculpture was a daunting task for a man whose usual weapons of choice are Italian linen and oil paints. “It took a while to get used to a new material but I
HOW TO WIN!
Valery reveals a trio of top tips for entering painting competitions • “Choose your best work. It has to either have a very original subject, be technically brilliant, be compositionally interesting or, ideally, all three.” • “The picture should be genuinely yours. There’s no point in replicating the style of someone else because you’re only doing a favour for that artist, not for yourself.” • “Always have high-quality, professional photographs of your artwork ready to send out to competitions.”
Above, CloCkwIse from Top lefT Dancer, modelling board, acrylic, gesso and silver, 167x96x5cm; Daniel, oil on linen, 100x100cm; The Three Graces of Neuilly-sur-Seine, oil on linen, 200x200cm
thought the results were wonderful. You’ve got to take hold of every opportunity with both hands so I’m very pleased that I accepted the invitation.” Keen to sculpt a successful painting career as well, Valery is currently working towards a solo exhibition at the Osborne Studio Gallery in July. Around 30 paintings will be on display, themed around the summer, seaside and sunshine. The work was produced in the artist’s studio on the tiny Greek island of Samos, where he has travelled every summer to paint for the last 20 years. “The pictures you’ll see at the Osborne Studio Gallery are based on life sketches and studies, and direct observations of my children and their friends in their various adventures,” he says. “There’s a strong sense of the Mediterranean, with lots of light, colour, joy and movement. It’s a very personal collection to me.” Keen to keep himself busy, he is also about to begin a portrait of the English actress Emilia Fox, as well as a painting of the celebrated Russian-born French writer Andreï Makine. “Commissions keep coming and works keep selling so I must be doing something right!” Valery’s next exhibition runs from 16 July to 4 August at the Osborne Studio Gallery, London SW1. www.osg.uk.com
Artists & Illustrators 33
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Awaiting the tide. Michael Praed
Seascape vessels. Colin Caffell
Longrock Beach sunset. Michael Strang
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Artists include Romi Behrens, Neil Pinkett, Michael Strang, Colin Caffell, John Piper and Michael Praed Open daily from 11am - 5.00pm until the end of October.
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Jod e Working studio & gallery exhibiting a large variety of original art Portrait commissions a speciality Original art to last a lifetime! 8 Trinity Street, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 8TW 01305 767475 www.leightongallery.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
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Artists & Illustrators Christine Manuel.indd 1
seaside art guide
Seaside Art Guide Head to the coast this summer and discover great art courses, galleries and exhibitions
Coastal courses Four great destinations to visit
1 The Creative Retreat Run by Carla and Bryan Angus during the summer months, this coastal hideaway offers short art courses, painting holidays and even studio hire. Gardenstown, Aberdeenshire www.creative-retreat.co.uk
2 Watershed Studio This wonderful little rural school regularly heads to the coast, with courses including Impressionist Sea and Landscapes in Oils (21-22 September). St Osyth, Clacton on Sea, Essex www.watershedstudio.co.uk
PAINT BY THE WAVES
St Ives School of Painting brings you close to sumptuous seascapes Painting the coast offers a rather extreme version of plein air work, as you are not only battling changeable elements, but also the constant variable of the roaring waves. Nowhere are you better placed to see this up close, however, than the St Ives School of Painting at the historic Porthmeor Studios. The school celebrated its 75th anniversary in April and hosts a range of inspiring courses all-year round that are tailor-made for the location and cater for artists of all levels.
This summer is no different and highlights include Into the Wild (15-17 July), a chance for budding artists to use sketchbooks as a means to respond to the local landscape. Meanwhile, Oil Painting in St Ives (12-14 August) sees Artists & Illustrators contributor Alice Mumford give you the chance to paint views of the Godrevy Lighthouse and Porthmeor Beach. Porthmeor Studios, St Ives, Cornwall (01736) 797180. www.stivesartschool.co.uk >
3 Callington School of Art Set in the Tamar Valley, this well-equipped and popular school stages three- and six-day courses, which include visits to Cornwallâ€™s north and south coasts (above). Callington, Cornwall www.callingtonartschool.com
4 Indigo Brown The popular Sea and Landscape course gives artists a chance to paint sea views along the 186-mile stretch of Britainâ€™s only coastal National Park. Letterston, Pembrokeshire www.indigobrown.co.uk
Artists & Illustrators 35
seaside art guide
ON THE LOOKOUT
Caroline Wiseman’s Aldeburgh Beach Lookout is a haven of creativity for artists at the water’s edge On the centenary of Benjamin Britten’s birth, the composer’s hometown of Aldeburgh, Suffolk will feature prominently in the celebrations. And one unmissable feature on the beach that inspired so much of his music is a rather lone lookout tower. Art dealer Caroline Wiseman first spotted it in 2010 when she was swimming nearby. “I thought it could be a place of inspiration for artists all over the world,” she explains. Caroline bought it and set up the Aldeburgh Beach Lookout and Art House. Using contacts from 25 years in the business, she pieced together a programme of weekly artist residencies that began with Sir Peter Blake. “The whole idea is that they come for a week and make, create and exhibit all in one space.” Anne Desmet RA is among those taking part this summer and Caroline is keen to extend an invitation to our readers too. If you have an exciting idea for a cross-disciplinary project, pay them a visit to talk it through and you could secure yourself a future residency at this most eccentric and invigorating of venues. Crag Path, Aldeburgh, Suffolk www.aldeburghbeachlookout.com
Summ er exhibitions 1 Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing
Until 15 September Turner Contemporary, Margate, Kent Opened in 2011, Turner Contemporary sits on the harbour and pays homage to JMW Turner’s love of the area. Curiosity explores links between art and science, and includes bird studies by the gallery’s namesake. www.turnercontemporary.org
2 Lyons Teashops Lithographs: Art in a Time of Austerity 13 July to 22 September Towner, Eastbourne John Nash and David Gentleman were among the artists commissioned by J Lyons & Co to brighten up their teashops after the war. Rediscover them here, while enjoying a vintage makeover of Towner’s café. www.townereastbourne.org.uk
3 Last Stop Scarborough 6 July to 5 January 2014 Scarborough Art Gallery Another nostalgia trip, this time to the Yorkshire resort’s touristic heyday. Watercolours and oil paintings give a glimpse of Victorian style and customs, while illustrated posters reveal how the coast has captured the imagination of artists and public alike over the years. www.scarboroughartgallery.co.uk
4 Dear Portrait 20 July to 13 October Mostyn, Llandudno A haven for contemporary art on the North Wales coastline, Mostyn curates fantastic, forward-thinking exhibitions. Dear Portrait features paintings, sculptures, drawings and video works by 20 international talents. www.mostyn.org
5 The Way to Beachy Head 20 July to 2 October Jerwood Gallery, Hastings Jeffery Camp RA celebrates turning 90 with a major new exhibition that charts his love of Sussex’s chalky coastline through a series of large-scale paintings. While you’re there, don’t miss the gallery at the gorgeous De La Warr Pavilion in nearby Bexhill-on-Sea. www.jerwoodgallery.org 36 Artists
seaside art guide
CAPTURING MAGICAL LIGhT Beside the Wave’s summer programme focuses on local landscapes
Buy Ar t Private galleries by the sea
Dubbed the English Riviera, Cornwall has long attracted artists in search of that most intangible of elements: light. Just as Venice has canals and crumbling architecture, so does Cornwall provide swooping cliffs, bustling harbours and warmer climes far closer to home. Cornish Light (27 June to 14 September) is a mixed show organised in conjunction with Falmouth Art Gallery that brings together work by 15 leading painters and places it alongside special collections and solo exhibitions by six other artists. Highlights will include former Artists & Illustrators cover star Amanda Hoskin’s Landscape Stories (5-17 July) and Water’s Edge (20-28 July), a collection of dazzlingly atmospheric and Turner-esque seascapes by Benjamin Warner. Arwenack Street, Falmouth, Cornwall (01326) 211132. www.beside-the-wave.co.uk
1 Roundhouse and Capstan Gallery
3 UpDown Gallery
Sennen Cove, Lands End, Cornwall Teetering on the edge of the Atlantic, this Grade-II listed gallery opened in 1983 to showcase local art and crafts – including paintings by Janet Treby and Neil Pinkett. www.round-house.co.uk
Elms Avenue, Ramsgate, Kent A short walk from the Royal Harbour lies this new, four-storey house of art. Owner Kate Smith is a former director of New York art dealer Bernard Jacobson, so expect editions by Bridget Riley, Andy Warhol and more. www.updowngallery.co.uk
2 Gallery Tresco
4 Belgrave St Ives
New Grimsby Quay, Tresco, Isles of Scilly You’re never far from the sea on Tresco – this Scilly isle measures less than 1.2 square miles! The gallery hosts nine selling exhibitions this year, each with work inspired by the island. www.tresco.co.uk
Fore Street, St Ives, Cornwall Specialising in 20th-century and contemporary art with a Cornish flavour, the forthcoming Summer Exhibition 2013 (15 July to 31 August) includes pieces by the likes of Kurt Jackson and Ben Nicholson. www.belgravestives.co.uk
Artists & Illustrators 37
PORTFOLIO A themed selection of the most creative artworks made by our readers on PortfolioPLUS
This month’s theme: HOLIDAY
picture of the month
ANNA SHUTTLEWOOD Place in the Sun, watercolour on paper, 40x30cm “Place in the Sun is part of a series of watercolour paintings inspired by people’s everyday lives and interests, wittily putting animals in the place of humans. This particular picture portrays the English seaside on one of those rare sunny days.” www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/anna-shuttlewood 38 Artists
PortfolioPLUS PortfolioPLUS • Create your own webpage • Showcase & sell your work
Portfolio Plus is the Artists & Illustrators online gallery for artists who want to share, showcase and sell their artwork. Every month we display a selection of the best work here, plus all Portfolio Plus members can enter Artists of the Year for free – see page 30. Browse the full range of artworks at www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/ art-collections
Your art could be featured here! To enter, follow these simple steps: • Visit our website at artistsandillustrators.co.uk/register • Create your own Portfolio Plus account for as little as £2.49 • Upload your artwork and become part of our expanding community • Email the link of your artwork to firstname.lastname@example.org above, from top HeatHer Howe Today It Was Summer www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/heatherhowe alexandra Howell Just Before We Go... www.artistsandillustrators.co.uk/alexandra-howell
Next month’s theme: Birds Send us your best avian art, from bright flamingos to dramatic birds of prey!
Artists & Illustrators
THE Bristol Art PIZE 2013
Britain’s most enjoyable painting competition is back! And now, in a new location, it’s even more enjoyable than ever!
This year, after four years in Bath, Britain’s most enjoyable painting competition is moving to Bristol. The move will give artists the opportunity to enjoy an unfamiliar challenge and from the end of September it will enable us to exhibit all the finalist paintings to a new audience in a new Arts Centre: The Guildhall, Bristol.
• £5,000 First Prize! & Many other prizes • Unique competition format • Open to all levels of ability • Wonderful subject matter
The wonderful Gothic facade of the Guildhall
Full details will soon be available on29/5/13 a new website 10:36 www.bristolartprize.co.uk
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Artists & Illustrators
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TIP OF THE MONTH On page 54, Grahame Booth shows you how to paint accurate shadows in sunny scenes to give your work a real sense of depth. His top tip is to paint your subject first and then paint the shadow with a continuous, transparent wash over the top of your other colours. This will help unify your painting and add a real depth of colour.
PRACTICAL art guide 42 Luke Martineau talks techniques • 48 The best sketchbooks • 54 How to mix shadow colours 60 Vermeer’s methods • 66 Gathering reference material • 74 Troubleshoot your paintings Artists & Illustrators 41
TALking Techniques wiTh
A jack of all trades and master of most of them too, this London-based artist tells Terri Eaton how he adapts his techniques to suit landscape, portrait, still life, illustration and more
above Tea in the Studio, oil on canvas, 61x76cm opposite page Luke in his west London studio. Photo: steve Pill 42 Artists
efore the doorbell has finished chiming, the front door of Luke Martineau’s west London home swings open and we’re warmly greeted by the artist with a hearty, “welcome!” Luke’s energy is infectious and entirely compulsory for grappling with the many projects he has on the go at any one time. “i’m juggling about 20 pictures at the moment,” he tells us. “i’m always thinking about what’s on the agenda.” To say he is a versatile artist is an understatement. This eton-educated painter frequently switches from portraits to still life to illustrations, but through it all, his passion for capturing the great outdoors has been unwavering. “As a teenager, i was always pottering off to the
countryside or to the banks of the Thames. i still do that today. My favourite place to paint in London is still along the river. The things i do at present are very much a continuation of what i did when i was younger.” Born in 1970, Luke’s artistic abilities were nurtured throughout his schooldays. “eton has an amazing art department and i was hugely encouraged,” he acknowledges. “The drawing schools were presided over by
John Booth, who was very influential for me because he was a draughtsman and a tonal artist, as well as being enormously enthusiastic.” By the time Luke had left school, he was equipped with an invaluable confidence that he could earn a living as a full-time artist. however, further advice from Booth stopped him from attending art school and instead, Luke studied english and French at Oxford university. “he was worried that if i went to art school i would have had the painting beaten out of me,” Luke says. “he said that i’d never lose my painting and i could always go back to it after my degree.” we can’t help but smile and think that Mr. Booth advised our artist wisely as we make our way up to Luke’s first-floor studio, where dozens of paintings of all subjects, styles and sizes are scattered around the room. Luke is also a tonal artist by his own admission and the lion’s share of his paintings are defined by short, loose brushstrokes, bound together by a strong drawing underneath. Before Luke begins a painting, he plots his work using a two-foot-long steel rule. he hones in on his main point of reference and then creates a grid of squares across the surface in pencil to ensure everything he depicts is in proportion. “it’s quite an objective way of working but it compliments the looseness of the brushstrokes. it gives something soft a robustness.” >
Luke is very practicaLLy-minded: “the onLy time i reaLLy get excited by my brushes is if i’m painting them!”
Luke favours Winsor & Newton or Michael Harding oils and works primarily on small canvases or MDF boards primed with acrylic gesso. However, he says you shouldn’t get too “het up” about the materials you select: “All I’m really interested in is making the painting.”
A meticulously-plotted drawing is juxtaposed against short, thick strokes of paint to quickly capture the essence of the subject rather than the details, but in a somewhat scientific manner: “It makes my work more thoughtful but at the same time, quite tough.”
“Sir William Nicholson is the best template as a whole of what I want to achieve because he was a master of pretty much everything,” says Luke. “He painted the places, the people and the things he loved. It looks effortless!”
Artists & Illustrators 43
talking techniques right Hammersmith Bridge, oil on canvas, 107x183cm below Blossom at Old Bodnod, oil on board, 51x61cm
Luke works predominantly on canvas and MDF board but is not precious about his supplies. “I am so unscientific about my canvas,” he admits. “I usually buy a fairly cheap roll of linen or cotton from Atlantis Art Materials, avoiding anything too coarse, and I buy my boards from a timber merchant.” He uses acrylic gesso primer and occasionally applies a very thin wash of red or yellow acrylic paint to lessen the brilliance of the white, leaving him with a pink canvas that will accentuate highlights. However, he also enjoys working on old, engrained canvases, too. “If there’s a painting that hasn’t worked, I turn it upside down and smooth it with fine sandpaper. It challenges me to adapt my usual approach, as I need to establish the highlights much faster,” he advises. Whether working en plein air on the banks of the river or painting a portrait commission from his studio, Luke tends to use a palette of Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow, French Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, Cadmium Red, Magenta and Raw Umber. Luke uses Winsor & Newton Artists’ Oils or Michael Harding Artists Oil Colours, but overall there’s a sense that his materials are nothing more
than a vehicle to communicate his vision. Whereas some artists may look upon their brushes as musicians look at their instruments, Luke is more practically-minded and tends to use small synthetic brushes that are disposable. “The only time I really get excited by my brushes is if I’m painting them, like in Tea in the Studio.” However, for Luke nothing can compare to being out in the open air, Mabef painting box easel in one hand and a selection of boards in the other. “You soak up so much visual
information that you can’t get from a photo,” he says of painting outdoors. “Plus, people are always genuinely interested in what you’re doing. There’s a busking element to it.” While some plein air painters consider it a cardinal sin to work on your painting afterwards in the studio, Luke enjoys bringing his studies home and giving them an additional pinch of tender loving care. “It’s a happy day when you come in from a painting session thinking your work is a success but it doesn’t happy very often – or not as often as I’d like it to.” Luke may seemingly dart from destination to destination at 100 miles an hour but he has meticulous attention to detail, like a whirlwind perfectionist. “As I’m becoming older and more fussy, I fiddle around with the works more, which is why I always take supporting photographs every 10 minutes when I’m painting en plein air. It’s my insurance policy.” He references his good friend and fellow artist, Richard Foster, who very rarely uses photos and often waits a year for the right light to add to some of his pieces. “I just don’t have the patience to wait a year! My head will be full of other things by then.” Being a West Londoner, Luke considers Sloane Square his stomping ground and recently began work on a series of paintings aimed at capturing the hustle and bustle of one of the capital’s most glamorous hotspots. So regularly did he perch outside one particular restaurant that the waiters asked him if there was anything he wanted from the menu.
“I always take supportIng photographs every 10 mInutes when I’m paIntIng en pleIn aIr. It’s my Insurance polIcy.” With crisp blue skies, bursts of terracotta and billowing awnings protecting diners from the midday sun, the Chelsea we see in Outside Colbert’s, Sloane Square is most certainly an enviable destination. Luke has captured conversation, movement and energy with very few brushstrokes – it’s exceedingly clever. While his precise drawings are the cement that bind those loose paintings together, Luke says he also owes thanks to the 20th-century English artist Sir William Nicholson, who has been a continual source of inspiration: “I love the sense of poetry
Nicholson conveyed with just a bit of light bouncing from the surface of a china jug or vase. He could create so much using so little.” As a devoted father of two and a dedicated husband, Luke also admires the way Nicholson conducted himself outside of the studio. “He lived life to the full and I like the idea that he had a family life whilst being socially engaged and engaging.” Luke is continuing to develop an A-Z series of small acrylic paintings on mountboard to catalogue the childhood of his “little people” – his daughter, Grace, and his son, Tom.
The collection is inspired by the woodcuts of Nicholson and – in contrast to his usual paintings – he uses blocks of no more than four colours to create an illustrative quality. “It’s an interesting release from the demands of my very gradated, tonal pictures,” he says brightly. “It’s actually rather wonderful to limit yourself to three or four colours. It gives you a sense of freedom. It’s one of those funny paradoxes.” A multi-tasker of the highest regard, Luke is pursuing his new found interest in illustration by designing a range of pretty mugs and milk jugs for Fenella Smith’s tableware and ceramics company, as well as working on several top-secret portrait commissions. With all these projects to fill his days, the only thing this artist won’t be doing anytime soon is resting. www.lukemartineau.com
above Outside Colbert’s, Sloane Square, oil on board, 30x41cm
Artists & Illustrators 45
! p u k c o St
These top art shops have all the materials you’ll need for a great summer of painting
H.Blyth & Co.
H.Blyth & Co. has been supplying Art, Graphics, Specialist and Student Materials for over 120 years. Based in the bohemian heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, H.Blyth & Co. supplies the finest art and graphic materials from around the world. As a Premier Art Centre, Blyth’s offers a range of exceptional discounts, as well as 15% off for students. For more information, please contact: 1 Stevenson Square, Manchester M1 1DN (0161) 236 1302 Email: email@example.com www.hblythco.com
Cockermouth Art & Craft Cockermouth Art & Craft stocks a comprehensive range of quality artist’s materials, including the full range of Unison Colour Pastels. It is the official UK reseller of the innovative SmudgeGuard glove, which prevents ink or graphite smudges when drawing or sketching. Cockermouth Art & Craft, 6 Main Street, Cockermouth, Cumbria CA13 9LQ (01900) 826969 Open Mon-Sat 9am-5pm (6pm Wed) including Bank Holidays. www.cockermouthartandcraft.co.uk
Art Shop Skipton
We stock a huge range of the best art and craft materials available and are a main stockist of leading brands such as Winsor & Newton, Daler-Rowney, Artmaster, Reeves, Pebeo, Derwent, Loxley and Unison. Behind the scenes we work hard to ensure that we offer these quality brands at the lowest possible prices. Whether you choose to shop in store on online, you will be guaranteed the same outstanding level of service. Art Shop Skipton, 22 Newmarket Street, North Yorkshire BD23 2JB (01756) 701177 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theartshopskipton.co.uk 46 Artists
The Compleat Artist
An Aladdins cave situated in the heart of the medieval city of Salisbury. This treasure trove draws customers from far and wide, has a successful mail order business, and was named one of the 12 best Traditional Art Shops by Artists & Illustrators in 2012. With its status as a Premier Art Centre, it is able to offer extremely competitive prices. It has an incredibly diverse selection of high quality products, carefully sourced from around the world. Lovingly run by the same family for the last 33 years. Call (01722) 335928 or visit www.thecompleatartist.co.uk
iartsupplies.co.uk iartsupplies.co.uk is family business run by two artists selling artists’ brands such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Amsterdam & Cobra. Where possible we use recycled packaging and we are passionate about good service and confident in the products we sell. We offer peace of mind, with a complete service and product guarantee. Call our Customer Service: (01337) 860860 email@example.com Twitter: @iartsupplies www.iartsupplies.co.uk
Spectrum Fine Art & Graphic Materials Established art shop conveniently located in Birmingham city centre. Stockist of art, design and model making materials to suit all levels. 10% student discount available. Friendly and experienced staff. Visit our website for more information. 175 Corporation Street, Birmingham B4 6RG (0121) 233 1780 firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: /spectrumfinearts Twitter: @spectrumartshop www.spectrumfinearts.co.uk
Harris Moore Canvases Ltd At Harris Moore Fine Arts you will find everything for the serious painter, including a wide range of paints, mediums and surfaces. Stocked brands include Michael Harding, Pip Seymour and Robersons. At Harris Moore you can also order a high quality stretched canvas to be made to any size or choose from a large range of Daler-Rowney canvases. For further information, please contact: Unit 12 Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley St, Birmingham B5 5RT (0121) 633 3687 email@example.com www.harrismoore.co.uk
Frank Herring & Sons Frank Herring and Sons is a third generation, family run, art and craft shop. Whatever your medium, there is a rich variety of products for the keen amateur and professional alike. We manufacture the popular Herring Products range of easels and palettes, which includes the Versatile and Seat easels For further information, please contact: 27 High West Street, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1UP firstname.lastname@example.org (01305) 264449/(01305) 267917 www.frankherringandsons.co.uk
Atlantis Art Materials Atlantis Art is the largest art store in the UK and one of Europe’s largest sources for art materials. We specialise in a huge range of painting materials for the more serious artists. Our in house artists are available online and in our store to directly answer any queries. Open 7 days a week with car park outside the congestion zone. We are located close to Liverpool Station and the Whitechapel Gallery and 15 minutes walk from the Tower of London. Britannia House 68-80 Hanbury Street, London E1 5JL (020) 7377 8855 email@example.com www.atlantisart.co.uk
Artscape Artscape is an arts and craft materials, stationery and picture framing specialist. We supply locally and nationwide to arts and craft professionals, enthusiasts, schools, colleges and businesses. We stock thousands of items and we are a Winsor and Newton Premier Centre. We also host Open Studios exhibitions by local artists in our gallery upstairs, the website contains only a fraction of what we have in stock, for further info. Please call us on (01582) 712807 Unit 8, Southdown Industrial Estate, Harpenden, Herts AL5 1PW www.artscape.uk.com
Chromos For something a little different... A huge range of high quality art materials at fabulous prices. One of the largest independent retailers of art materials in Britain. Manned only by arts and crafts trained specialists and professionals. For that personal touch. 77 Stour Street, Canterbury, Kent (01227) 450836 www.chromosart.co.uk
London Art Shop A Friendly independant art store offering a vast range of art and craft materials. They cater for all levels of experience and a variety of practices. Their knowledgeable staff are all practicing artists themselves. 15% student discount available. Open 7 days a week. 132 Finchley Road, Hampstead, London NW3 5JH (020) 7433 1571 www.londonart-shop.co.uk
Pegasus Art Committed to excellent customer service, Pegasus Art is a treasure trove for every artist, with a spectacular array of stock. Whether you’re a professional or complete beginner, quality art materials are our passion. For brilliant value buy online, call us, or visit our Mill Shop for a warm welcome; the choice is yours. Griffin Mill, London Rd, Stroud GL5 2AZ (01453) 886560 firstname.lastname@example.org www.pegasusart.co.uk “suppliers of the finest art materials”
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We are an independent art shop in the heart of Bath with an ever expanding range of materials, from paints, papers and pens to printing inks and moulding materials. We offer discounts to professionals, students and art clubs, plus special offers throughout the year, including 20% off Winsor & Newton Tubes. New ranges include Pip Seymour acrylics. New offer: 3 for 2 (cheapest free) on Schmincke 5ml watercolour tubes (£2.50 P&P in UK). 12a Trim Street, Bath BA1 1HB (01225) 464054 email@example.com www.minervaartsupplies.co.uk
Artists & Illustrators
How to pick tHe perfect…
WaTErcOlOurSkETchbOOk Artist Alexander Adams tests nine of the best sketchbooks for water-based media
Alexander gives his verdict on the different sketchbook brands
ith the arrival of summer, many painters’ thoughts turn to working outdoors. painters are faced with myriad watercolour papers available as pads, blocks, books and loose sheets. so what’s the solution? Firstly, let’s narrow our search. Many manufacturers now sell paper in blocks that are glued on all sides, which dramatically reduces the amount sheets cockle when wet and save artists the trouble of stretching paper on boards. For fieldwork, however, blocks are not very practical, as each sheet must be detached before you can use the next one. As such, we will only be looking at sketchbooks and pads here. To decide which sketchbook best suits your requirements, first think of how you are likely to be working with it. If you generally work indoors then paper quality and size are the
This panoramic-format pad has 100% cotton paper with a pronounced stippled texture, which allows painters to create speckled dry-brush effects. However, the texture disrupts fine line work by breaking up lines and it also catches nibs. Noticeable cockling is apparent with extensive washes. en.canson.com
Made from 100% wood, The Langton spiral pad contains the heaviest of the papers tested. Although the thickness combats cockling, watercolour and ink tend to dry on it in a grainy manner. It is available in three surfaces (cold-pressed, hotpressed and rough) and an impressive variety of sizes. www.daler-rowney.com
This pad is perforated to allow sheets to be torn without distorting the spiral binding. When damp, light watercolour washes can be almost completely lifted off using kitchen paper, which is a boon for reworking watercolours. However, the paper is prone to cockling when broad washes are applied. www.fabriano.com
Carnet de Voyage
watercolour sketchbooks most important aspects, but if you work outdoors or travel far then portability and durability are more pertinent. The attractiveness and robustness of bindings are less important if one wishes to detach sheets for show or sale. Likewise, an intrinsic quality of pads and books is that pages remain in order, forming a kind of sequential diary of painting in a way that canvases are unable to – working in books can become part of the art. The quality of the paper is another important consideration. In the samples tested below, the paper ranges in weight from 190gsm to 425gsm, while the surfaces range from the relatively textured finish of cold-pressed paper to the near smoothness of hot-pressed pages. Paper types also vary. Cotton is generally considered the superior option by watercolourists because it is often more stable, flexible and resilient than wood pulp, which is in turn cheaper and the natural choice for students, beginners and those
Carnet de Voyage The flimsy light-card front cover is unlikely to stand much wear and not sturdy enough to be considered a true sketchbook. However, the blended paper provides a pleasant surface to work on and resists cockling. It also absorbs paint slowly – an advantage for more considered work. www.lanapapier.fr/en
300gsm, 100% cotton
300 or 425gsm, 100% wood
CP, HP or Rough
13x18cm to 41x51cm
Fabriano Acquarello Torchon
270gsm, 25% cotton
13.5x21cm to 32x41cm
Lana Carnet de Voyage
300gsm, 25% cotton
14x22cm and 17x27cm
Moleskine Watercolour Notebook
200gsm, 25% cotton
9x14cm and 13x21cm
Moleskine Watercolour Album
200gsm, 25% cotton
21x30cm and 30x42cm
Shepherds Traveller’s Sketchbook
190gsm, 100% cotton
Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolour Pad
190, 300 or 425gsm, 100% wood
13x20cm to 41x51cm
Winsor & Newton Artists’ Watercolour Pad
300gsm, 100% cotton
13x18cm to 41x51cm
Arches Aquarelle Carnet de Voyage Daler-Rowney Langton
SURFACE BINDING PAGES
looking to save money. Blended papers are intended to combine improved performance with economy. All of the papers tested are of a similar brightness but the sizing varies. The sizing is the binding agent that knits together the fibres and it is this (along with the
consistency and composition) that determines the absorbency of a paper. Some paper mills and manufacturers do not produce pads or use their top-quality papers in pad or book format. The nine items below are some of the most commonly available products suited to outdoor work. A&I
Winsor & neWton
Although Moleskine is not a specialist art materials supplier, the 25% cotton blended paper is still pleasant to work on and the water-resistant covers are useful in the field. The smaller Notebook is the better of the two, as the pages don’t cockle and the paper texture favours detailed work. www.moleskine.com/gb
Bound in water-resistant buckram with a leather spine, elasticated strap and pencil loop, the deckle and torn edges of the Saunders Waterford cotton paper (the only one here with watermarks) give the Shepherds book an artisanal feel and forgive reworking – albeit at a price. £48 could inhibit experimentation. www.shepherds-london.com
The Cotman performs impressively for a wood paper: holding colour evenly, not catching nibs and standing up well to robust reworking. It also cockles relatively little. The 100% cotton Artists’ Pad performs in similar ways. Indeed, it is hard to tell the two apart, with the exception of price. www.winsornewton.com
Watercolour Notebook and Album
Cotman and Artists’ Watercolour Pads
Artists & Illustrators
oil sketching with constable
Oil Sketching with Constable Landscape painter Louise Balaam explains five ways in which we can all take inspiration from the oil sketching techniques of the late, great English master John Constable
A below Louise Balaam, Billowing Cloud, South Downs, oil on panel, 20x23cm
s a landscape painter myself, John Constable has always been one of my heroes – I particularly admire the freshness and spontaneity of his work. Compton Verney’s forthcoming exhibition, Turner and Constable: Sketching from Nature, will offer a wonderful opportunity to see Constable’s oil sketches alongside work produced en plein air by other 18th- and early 19th-century artists.
Although Constable wasn’t the first artist to sketch outside, he is noteworthy for the emphasis he placed on working from nature. Famously, he once said, “When I sit down to make a sketch from nature, the first thing I try to do is to forget that I have ever seen a picture.” This doesn’t mean that he ignored the Old Masters; at the Royal Academy, he had studied works by Claude, Ruisdael and Rubens, among others.
The following five pointers, based around methods used by Constable himself, should prove helpful to bear in mind when you attempt to sketch from the landscape.
1. choose the right surface
Many of the qualities we so admire in oil sketches – looseness, directness, a lack of preciousness – come directly from the constraints of working outside the studio. Because the weather and the light are constantly changing, you are forced to work fast, and there is less temptation to get bogged down in detail. The small size of most oil sketches also means that you can cover the surface quickly, and broad brushstrokes have more impact. When sketching in oils, Constable used thick paper, cut pieces of canvas or sometimes even panels for his supports. He apparently made his oil sketches sitting on a stool, with his paint box on his lap and the paper or canvas pinned to the lid. He would apply a coloured ground to the primed support – a warm brown ground can often be seen showing through on his unfinished paintings or sketches.
2. compose with contrasts
PHOTO: JOHN CARUANA
Constable sometimes began with a loose pencil sketch, before laying in the tonal pattern of the work with fluid brown paint. This step helps to establish the compositional structure – in The Grove, Hampstead, the strongest light-dark contrasts occur
oil sketching with constable unfinished, with the brown ground layer clearly visible again.
© TaTe; PHOTO: JOHN CaRUaNa
3. PICK a balanCe of Colours
in the vertical mid-section, where the trees meet the building. There are mid-tone darks in the trees to the left, giving a vertical mass that contrasts with the horizontal lines of the path and water. Constable was very concerned with chiaroscuro, the effects of light and shade, which he regarded as a property of nature, not simply a way of visually structuring a picture. His strong light/dark contrasts give a dramatic, punchy feel to his paintings and enhance their spatial aspects. It appears likely that Constable would work on a painting from the furthest point to the foreground. The sky over The Grove has been put in with creamy white and pale grey paint, using biggish brushes. Where the paint is thinner, the brown ground layer shows through, giving warm shadowed clouds in the top right corner of the painting. The most distant trees would probably have been painted next, followed by the buildings and rooftops, all with small brushes and fluid paint. The dark reflections in the water have been
painted in as indistinct shapes, with paler, fine horizontal brushstrokes to represent the ripples on the surface of the water. The immediate foreground in the bottom left corner is left
Constable’s colours A typical oil palette
I tend to use a limited palette, based around a white, Ultramarine and a range of earth colours, which seems similar to Constable’s range of pigments, especially in his seascapes. His Ultramarine would have been natural, made from ground lapis lazuli, the most prized and expensive colour (synthetic Ultramarine was only developed in 1826). The creamy white pigment in the sketches, put on so thickly at times that it has cracked, was Lead White rather than Titanium White – a lovely creamy pigment, though with less mixing power. Both natural Ultramarine and Lead (or Flake) White are still available, and worth trying for their subtlety. Other colours that have been identified in Constable’s paint box are Chrome Yellow, Vermilion, Red Lake, Cobalt and Prussian Blues, and vivid greens, including Verdigris – see side bar for details. Constable’s landscapes are notable for their wide range of greens, which would have been made by mixing other colours into this bright green pigment.
top left John Constable, The Grove, Hampstead, c. 1821-’22, oil on canvas, 35.6x30.2cm left Louise Balaam, Turquoise Sea, Ullapool, oil on panel, 20x23cm
Artists & Illustrators 51
oil sketching with constable
4. Keep it moving
5. SuggeSt in Several StroKeS
Dedham from Gun Hill, Langham shows a characteristic technique, whereby white paint was applied in
above John Constable, The Sea near Brighton, 1826, oil on paper on card, 17.5x23.8cm right John Constable, Dedham from near Gun Hill, Langham, 1815, oil on paper on canvas, 25.1x30.5cm
A later sketch, The Sea near Brighton from 1826, though small, has a huge sense of movement. The ground may be a paler pinkish colour, which Constable tended to use at this point. This works particularly well with sky and sea subjects, giving luminosity to the paint. The composition is much simpler, with a low unbroken horizon, and strong diagonal cloud-masses in the sky. These would probably have been indicated first with thin mid-brown paint, as part of the compositional lay-in. This would then have been overlaid with vigorous diagonal brushstrokes establishing the cloud structures, brownish-grey near the top of the painting and cooler blue nearer the horizon. Softer strokes blend in the pale grey areas of the cloud, while the strongest contrast is seen in the thick white impasto of the brightest cloud area. The sea would then have been painted using greenish-grey paint, over which smaller brushes would be used to paint the highlights and shadows of the ripples. The tiny boats whose sails break the horizon would
probably have been painted last, with a few deft strokes from a fine brush loaded with liquid paint.
light touches as a finishing effect. For Constable, this represented the “dew”, the freshness and the sparkle he saw in the landscape, but he was severely criticised by critics at the time, who called it “snow” or “whitewash”. In this sketch, as well as the whitish touches, there are also blobs of dark red and warm ochre, applied on top of the dark foliage. Constable’s mark making was seen by his critics as being highly unorthodox – unfinished, rough and “specky”. I love the way he paints a dog using three or four brushstrokes, while his contemporaries found in it a shocking lack of finish and tended to paint with a highly realistic level of detail. I also find it fascinating to see how Constable’s brushstrokes suggest the forms of trees, foliage, and clouds, while the marks themselves are kept crisp and distinct, keeping their own identity. This adds greatly to the liveliness and freshness of his work. I’ve always agreed with Constable that sketching outside is crucial for any landscape painter – and seeing the freshness and sparkle of these beautiful little paintings will make anyone want to get out there and give it a go. Turner and Constable: Sketching from Nature runs from 13 July to 22 September at Compton Verney, Warwickshire. Louise Balaam: Cornish Light runs until 6 July at Cadogan Contemporary, London SW7. www.louisebalaam.co.uk
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Painting Holidays & Workshops – France a_i_advert_April-12.indd 1
Bixxy Nash Places in August & September HOLIDAY Relax, enjoy and be inspired on a week’s holiday staying in our beautiful house in this stunning historic location. Small groups, sketching and painting in our fully equipped studio, within the extensive grounds, or out on location. Watercolour and mixed media. Ensuite bedrooms, delicious home cooking. Suitable for beginners and the more experienced.
Joanne Boon Thomas 30th June
d e k o o B Fully
Tutoring sessions in “Brusho”, (an ink medium) and in watercolour. Each is the ideal medium to capture the transparent effects of light and mood with sensitivity and its unpredictability. The qualities she looks to bring to her student’s work, are pleasing compositions, harmonious colour, interesting textures and the quality of light.
Eugen Chisnicean 25th August
d e k o o B Fully 29th September
I will be seeking with the group to discover the “sense of place”, by making both sketches and studies. Working from life, we will explore ways of seeing and observing the “smaller picture” & “the hidden views”. Share my knowledge, skills & techniques: sketching with or without a pencil, wet in wet, wet on dry and “lost & found edges”. France Painting Holiday
Students will learn how to choose the subject, build compositions, simplify and capture the essentials of the subject, to create mood and atmosphere. Daily demonstrations will show each stage of the painting to enable students to learn watercolour techniques, which can then be applied in their own paintings.
France Painting Holiday
Artists & Illustrators 53
How to paint…
The key to painting bright summer scenes is mastering your shadows. Irish watercolour master Grahame Booth shows you how to unify the shapes and mix the right colours
ummer sunshine and lovely rich shadows – the perfect recipe for a watercolour. The impression of sunshine in a painting depends on there being sufficient tonal contrast between the sunlit and shadow areas. But what does a shadow consist of? And how do we create the impression of one with paint? Many would say that, in reality, a cast shadow creates a darker version of the colour of the sunlit area and so convincing shadows on a grey road should be created with a darker grey, for example. Likewise, for a green field, many would choose a darker green and so on. I can’t argue with that, but because watercolour is transparent, we don’t 54 Artists
above Barcelona Waterfront, watercolour on paper, 56x86cm The shadow glaze is warmer in the foreground but the main variation is caused by the underlying colour. Note the lack of drying lines within the shadow areas. Drying lines destroy the illusion.
need to mix a different colour for every shadow. Instead, we can simply use a grey(ish) wash as a glaze over any colour because the shadow glaze will be altered by the underlying colour. A darker shadow wash will suggest stronger sunshine, letting less of the underlying colour show through – in these areas, tone will take precedence over colour (see fig. 1, top right), just as in nature. This works beautifully in practice, as long as the other characteristics of shadows are considered. Remember, shadows can’t be cast on top of other shadows (assuming there is only one light source, such as the sun). If you see one tree shadow meeting another, the two will merge,
not overlap. With this in mind, shadow glaze must be applied to all shadow areas at the same time. Use a loaded, soft brush (I use at least a size 12) to avoid disturbing the underlying wash. Always join shadows where possible – it will create larger, more interesting shapes. The tone of the shadow can vary. One obvious example is a car on a shady road. The shadow under the car is darker than the surrounding road and ideally this should be achieved by darkening or lightening the shadow glaze while it is still damp. Subtle variations of the mix of shadow colour also add interest, particularly to the larger darker shadows. To test this theory, try painting a picture as if there are no shadows,
1. The single shadow glaze has the effect of darkening each underlying colour. If you mask all the colours except one you will see the effect better. The stronger shadow wash darkens the colour at the expense of the hue but this is as you would expect.
left Centenary Stores, Wexford, watercolour on paper, 20x11cm Here the shadow wash is much darker, using strong tone at the expense of colour, in order to concentrate the light on the orange awning. The shadow glaze is continuous from the top to the bottom of the painting, linking and simplifying the shapes.
2. We perceive the darkest value or tone of any colour to be black. In the two swatches above, the dark end is essentially the same colour (a mix of Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna), yet the eye will happily accept one to be dark green and the other dark red.
taking care to use strong enough colours to be seen through the shadow glaze. If, for example, your painting includes a red building with the gable in shadow, paint the entire building with the same tone of red. When the painting is essentially finished, apply the shadow glaze. I like to use a grey mix, slightly on the warm side of neutral, and this can be created in a number of ways: I usually use Phthalo Blue with Alizarin Crimson, but French Ultramarine with Brown Madder also works well. (I originally used a much cooler grey that theoretically should be more suitable, but this often has the effect of cooling the entire painting and reducing the feeling of warm sunshine.) Apply the shadow glaze over all of the shadow areas at the same time, trying to connect them as much as possible and vary the colour and strength as necessary. Finally, try adding small areas of rich, dark French Ultramarine and Burnt Sienna mix to the shadows with a size 6 rigger to create the intensely dark parts. Grahame leads watercolour workshops throughout the year in the UK, Ireland and Europe. For more information, visit his website www.grahamebooth.com
left Window, Provence, watercolour on paper, 30x20cm Without the shadow glaze, the shutters, both windows and the shelf with plants would be disconnected shapes. The shadow glaze links them all and generates strong interesting tonal variety.
Artists & Illustrators
Masterclass:Order and Chaos H Natural wonders like the sea provide artists with the opportunity to paint both formal shapes and random patterns. Paul Moyse explains all in this marine masterclass
aving lived on the southeast coast of Kent for the last few years, the sights and sounds are now well and truly in my blood. As such, painting the sea seems such a natural thing to do. This painting was based on a photograph taken during a wild and stormy afternoon. Our home has a sea view, so I was already watching the waves getting bigger from our front room. I grabbed my camera and ran down to the pier. Once there, the camera was getting sprayed with foam as I leant closer to the edge, but I knew I could capture something if I was brave enough. The photograph that I based this painting upon was taken at the moment two waves collided, spitting foam at me. I retreated, taking a few more shots as I went, but knowing I had the one I needed. I have been working with oils for several years now and I find their slow drying time suits my painting style. I often work on several pieces at once, putting one piece aside to dry while I work on another. This can be a useful strategy to adopt if you want to create momentum with your work. www.paulmoyse.com
A 3/4” ProArte Series 32 Polar Nylon Flat, a 3/8” Series 204 Acrylix One Stroke and a size 0 ProArte Series 202 Acrylix Round
Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow Pale, French Ultramarine and Titanium White, all Daler-Rowney Georgian Oils
A 27x47cm MDF board
• GESSO PRIMER • A LOW-ODOUR THINNER 56 Artists
I painted onto a gessoed board, using three brushes. I find that flat synthetic ones are better for blocking in larger areas of colour, reducing the need for sketching first.
I painted over the white gesso with a light wash of Cadmium Orange, mixed with low-odour thinner. This will show through from beneath the finished painting. After the orange is dry, I start blocking in the larger areas.
I like to clamp my palette to the front of my easel, as pictured. My colours are Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow Pale, French Ultramarine and Titanium White. Selecting yellow and orange increases my options when mixing with the Ultramarine to make green – the Cadmium Orange can be used to push the green to the browner side of the spectrum.
French Ultramarine and Cadmium Yellow Pale were my base colours for this painting. I like to avoid using black when I can, so here I’m using the blue as my darkest tone and reducing its intensity with the other three colours.
Working with the large flat brush, I blocked in the various areas of tone and value. When you’re not using black, it’s easier to work from dark to light and then back again to keep your colours from becoming grey and muddy.
I began to soften the background into the foreground by adding more paint with the 3/4” flat brush. I am careful not to add too much paint at this stage; a heavier impasto will take longer to dry and be harder to paint over with detail.
By this stage, my composition was mostly blocked in. Note the triangle shape (outlined in red) that is forming just off centre. This will become an important focal point later on.
With the 3/4” flat brush, I started to mark out where the detailed areas of foam were going to go. When there are lots of areas running into each other, as in this case, I find it helps to indicate the identifiable shapes and then make up the rest.
Artists & Illustrators 57
I began to further develop the darker green areas here, working my way up to the crest of the wave.
This is a few hours into the painting and the initial areas of blocked-in colour needed time to dry sufficiently before I could begin to paint detail on top with the size 0 round brush. At the risk of applying the white too thickly at this stage, I rested the piece for a couple of days as I worked on other paintings.
When I came back to it, I decided to define my darkest darks, while at the same time adding texture to the wave. I have no fixed preference in terms of whether one should work dark to light or light to dark. I work both ways until the values and colours feel right.
12 With the smaller size 0 brush, I began to sketch shapes in the water.
Still with the 3/8”, I added a few minor suggestions of wave shadow at the horizon, keeping their value as low as possible so as not to draw much attention to them.
My palette looked like this, as I wrestled with the various shades of green. I use the palette to wipe off the excess paint from my brush when I’m mixing as well.
Using the 3/8” brush, I worked on the background, keeping it as loose and undefined as possible, and used extra touches of French Ultramarine to cool down the white-green mix. I also wanted some of the orange undercoat to show through, so I limited the amount of paint I applied.
I used the size 0 brush for some detail work. I loved the movement here, as though the water was dancing, so I tried to accentuate this.
to Vary the levels of contrast will It . eye r’s we vie guide the be drawn to areas of high st, contrast, like the wave cre as are g sin while dismis of low contrast.
I started to add some detail to the foam. The aim wasn’t to render every bubble individually but to interpret a sense of the movement with brushstrokes.
Stepping back to assess, I felt like I was getting close to the finish. There were still some highlights to add on the foam, both on the base of the wave and the crest. I also needed to add accents to a few darker areas of water to add depth beneath the surface.
Sometimes brushstrokes aren’t required – I blended the paint with my finger here.
There is both order and chaos in the patterns of the foam. As I’m only using the reference photograph as a rough guide, I had to change the direction of my brushstrokes in a random yet purposeful manner in order to recreate this.
More detail was added. How much paint you have on your brush and how much pressure you choose to apply are very personal decisions for an artist to make. We have to balance this against what is comfortable for us.
Moving the painting to a horizontal position, I spattered the surface with the loaded toothbrush, careful not to overdo the effect. I like a good variety of large and small spatters to represent the randomness of the sea spray.
For a finishing touch, I got an old toothbrush and mixed some thinner with the paint until the consistency was runny. I am wary of adding too much white at this late stage, because I don’t want the contrasts to look too unnatural.
I always think that a painting isn’t complete until it has been framed. The border can help you assess whether the composition is working as you intended.
Artists & Illustrators 59
old masters, new ideas
Old masters, new ideas 2. Vermeer and technology
In the second part of our series, Norfolk Painting School’s Martin Kinnear explains how to create a 21st-century update of Vermeer’s classic portrait techniques
above Johannes Vermeer, The Guitar Player, about 1672, oil on canvas, 53x46.3cm The artist’s blended brushstrokes lend this a deliberately dream-like quality
n this second article on master painters, we will be looking at the perennial favourite, Johannes Vermeer, the Dutch painter perhaps most famous for his 1665 portrait, Girl with a Pearl Earring. The new National Gallery exhibition, Vermeer and Music, focuses on three pieces showing female figures in interiors. With just 34 paintings attributed to him, Vermeer left a legacy that is
eclipsed in terms of size by the other giants of Dutch art – Rembrandt, by comparison, left behind hundreds of works – but nevertheless remains an important body of work for study.
Like generations before him, Vermeer worked in the traditional grisaille method, which required him to
produce an accurate monochromatic painting of a subject prior to adding the colour. Although there is no documentary evidence, Vermeer’s practice also suggests that he used a camera obscura – see below. Using this device, it would have been possible to speed up the laborious underpainting stage of the grisaille and glaze methods. In addition to this, the fidelity of the scene to that of the painted image becomes pretty close; in other words, things would look as they were. This was important to Dutch art buyers in the 17th century and remarkable in an age with few reproduced images.
What is a camera obscura? The camera obscura is a simple optical device for tracing an image. It works by allowing light to pass into a darkened box via a small aperture, which projects the light upside down on to a flat surface. Known to the ancients, the camera obscura evolved in the 17th century, first producing an image the size of a room, and then involving the use of lenses. 60 Artists
old masters, new ideas
TESTING THE THEORY
left and below left To create a Vermeer-style portrait, Martin asked the school’s assistant, Vanda, to pose for him bottom The first ‘fat’ layer of paint has been applied and is waiting to dry
In order to paint along the same lines as how Vermeer, simply follow these eight steps:
1. Prepare a toned support Use a canvas or panel, as you prefer, with an absorbent gesso or ground. Most Dutch painters used a creamcoloured ground that we now refer to as a Flemish ‘bole’. The Flemish bole will lend your picture a soft glow – important in creating Vermeer’s characteristic light effects.
2. Set your image Project your subject onto the panel. You can either recreate a traditional camera obscura for this or else just use a digital projector. Many scholars believe that the difficulties with primitive lenses in Vermeer’s day gave painters new ideas about painting objects with diffuse edges. The big difference, of course, between a camera obscura and a digital projection is that the former directly transfers whatever it is pointed at onto the support to give you a much more ‘dimensional’ image than one which has been flattened by being processed through a camera. To overcome this I have experimented with adjusting
photographic images in Photoshop prior to projection. This gives you the option to add blur, saturate colours and adjust contrast to create an image far closer to a direct projection.
3. Trace the image Place your canvas or panel in front of the projected image. Trace the image lightly using a hard pencil (Vermeer may have used a scribing tool or silverpoint to mark his toned ground). If projections aren’t your thing, you could step back further in time and use the ‘prick and pounce’ method. This involves making a full-scale
drawing on paper (a ‘cartoon’) and perforating it with a sharp point (I use an etching needle) before laying it over your canvas or panel and then bashing graphite powder or chalk through the holes in the paper with a leather pad or ball of rags (the ‘pounce’). The advantage of this method is that your image can only be roughly transferred, which will help you avoid making too prescriptive a copy.
4. Make a tonal painting Time for your grisaille. The traditional choice for this was black and white, but many scholars believe that >
Artists & Illustrators
old masters, new ideas Ultramarine Blue to create deep shadows, or add a tint of Ultramarine Blue (colour plus white) for highlights. Most masters ensured their picture was blurred or less resolved towards the edges and sharper around the focal point at this stage, yet Vermeer’s own work was often quite resolved across the entire canvas.
right It may be no Vermeer portrait but this landscape shows that using a grisaille and glazes of local colour can work with any subject
7. Model the details
Vermeer preferred a warmer scheme, made from brown earth tones, while many Italian artists often used greenish earth tones – or verdaccio. Whichever hue you choose, make sure the painting is accurate, but with more extreme contrasts (darker darks and lighter lights), as its tonal range will decrease when you glaze it.
5. Apply local colour When the grisaille is dry, use glazes (a transparent layer, similar in density to a watercolour wash) to add the ‘local’ colour for any given section of your painting. For example, you might paint all of a blue dress with a glaze of Ultramarine Blue or all of a red tablecloth with a Transparent Earth Red glaze. Vermeer often used extraordinary amounts of an expensive blue pigment called Lapis Lazuli for this first colouring of the grisaille – also known as dead colouring. Some
far right Martin compares his own Vermeer-style portrait with a reproduction of the Dutch artist’s work, The Milkmaid 62 Artists
scholars suggested that this was because his principal patron dealt in the pigment or that it was a way of making his pictures conspicuously expensive for collectors. Either way, I strongly suggest that you avoid Lapis Lazuli, as, like most historical pigments, it’s extremely difficult to use in comparison with modern equivalents, such as Ultramarine Blue.
6. Add secondary glazes Once the dead colouring is dry, refine each of the larger areas with subsequent glazes. For example, you might glaze Alizarin Crimson over
Once the secondary glazes are dry, use smaller brushes and thicker, oilier paint (or ‘fat’ paint) to add some strong accents to your work. Fatter paint facilitates blending on the upper layers, and will allow you to place impasto marks on the focal points. If you let these dry, you will notice that some passages will appear to go dull compared with others – this is known as ‘sinking in’, a by-product of using paints with varying levels of oil content on different areas.
8. Add a unifying glaze You can correct colours at the end and bring them together by adding a single light glaze over the entire picture. Vermeer often used Indian Yellow to give his pictures a soft warm glow, but you might choose a blue instead to cool things down. It is best to make this a fairly ‘fat’ glaze (in other words, an oily one), although I prefer to use a modern alkyd gel in place of oil for this, as it is more stable.
old masters, new ideas
WHAT TO TAKE AWAY
In Grayson Perry’s British Museum exhibition, The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, he noted that “everything was contemporary once” and since visiting the show I’ve made a point of looking at Old Masters with that quote in mind. So what made Vermeer contemporary to a 17th-century audience? The most intriguing aspect of Vermeer’s work is his widely accepted use of optical devices. It’s difficult now to find a contemporary painter who is not actively using some sort of optical device. Whether we are painting from photos or drawing on iPads, we live in an age where the division between art and technology has never been so blurred. In seeing Vermeer as an example of a painter who was happy to use the latest technology to produce stunning images, he becomes relevant to contemporary artists. Having said that, it’s not helpful to follow too closely in the footsteps of other painters. With that in mind, my experiments with optical devices have been mostly concerned with digital imaging. In 2009, I started a series of paintings based on and incorporating digital images. My aim was not to slavishly copy an image or produce an accurate illusion of reality, but rather to create a fusion of traditional painting and modern image-making. The pictures strike a balance between resolution and suggestion and, in doing so, ally the tradition of rough painting with optical devices.
above Johannes Vermeer, Young Woman Seated at a Virginal, about 1670-’72, oil on canvas, 25.2x20cm Vermeer used a complex colour scheme that included Lead Tin Yellow, Ultramarine and Green Earth.
above Martin Kinnear, Dawn Light, oil on canvas, 91x122cm Vermeer’s techniques can be used on any subject. This landscape was worked up from a projection.
TIPS TO TRY Get inspired by Vermeer with our five key pointers
• Don’t be afraid of technology – use it to your advantage • Set up a strong single light source for your portraits • Try using an optical device to create accurate drawings • Begin by painting a grisaille for tonal accuracy • Use a final, unifying glaze to balance colours at the end
Martin is head tutor at the Norfolk Painting School, which specialises in instructing contemporary painters in oil painting techniques. He publishes a quarterly e-journal available via the school website. To find out more call (01328) 730203 or visit www.norfolkpaintingschool.com. Images courtesy of Vermeer & Music: The Art of Love & Leisure which runs from 26 June to 8 September at the National Gallery, London. www.nationalgallery.org.uk
Artists & Illustrators
The Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours member Colin Allbrook reveals his award-winning sketchbooks
ST POL DE LEON MARKET, FRANCE
Colin: “The light wasn’t very good on this day but the activity and the shapes appealed to me, and I wanted to get that sense of bustle in it. The key is to treat it like a stage set: the market stalls and trees are your fixed elements but the people come and go the whole time. When they appear in the right position, just quickly plonk them down on your page – it gives you that sense of life.”
CLIFFS AT BAGGY POINT, DEVON
Colin: “This was a lovely stretch of cliff. The light is so crucial – that big shadow actually helps explain the shape of the cliff. If the light isn’t dead right, the best thing is to start sketching anyway. Otherwise you spend the day thinking, ‘Will it be a bit better if I move?’ If you actually sit down and get started, I find things develop from there.”
how i made… Colin Allbrook RI won the 2013 Neil Meacher RI Sketchbook Award at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours’ 201st Annual Exhibition. www.colinallbrookartist.co.uk
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
STREETS OF SOUBÈS, FRANCE
Colin: “This was a pretty little village in France. So many of the buildings are four storeys high so this lent itself to working with the sketchbook up on its end to get the sense of height in it. Is there enough information to make a painting? Yes, you don’t want to put masses of detail into it. When you’re sketching, your head moves all the time – it’s not a fixed point like a camera – so you get a wider view. You’ll find you’ve included more in a drawing than a photograph would capture.”
“YOUR HEAD MOVES ALL THE TIME… YOU’L YOU’VE INCLUDED MORE IN A DRAWING THL FIND A PHOTOGRAPH WOULD CAPTURE” AN CHURCH AT SOTO IRUZ, SPAIN
Colin: “What interests me is usually the position of the light casting across the subject, or just anything that catches the eye. When you’re making a sketch, it’s always easier to focus on one object and then build the sketch around it. In this case, the church was a nice solid subject to build on, really. It developed from there. Sometimes I’ll go straight in with a brush, sometimes I’ll draw a bit first in pencil beforehand.”
Discover a new technique in just five minutes Matthew Sheppard, Hobby Ceramicraft: “The tactile form of a piece of ceramic or pottery adds another dimension to your creativity. One option is to create the form yourself. The alternative, as a growing number of artists are now discovering, is to find a beautiful shape that has already been made. You can then eliminate a stage from the process, which will in turn allow you to concentrate your efforts on decorating the piece. “Over the past decade, the products available to our industry have been developed and simplified so you no longer need to have a wide knowledge of the underlying science of the processes involved. The colours, the glazes and the firing processes have all been refined to allow artists of all ages and abilities the opportunity to create beautiful pieces that will live on for generations. “Despite what you might think, this is no longer a craft limited to experienced professionals. You do need a kiln, but they are not the beastly great industrial monsters that you may recall from your schooldays. Nowadays, we use highly efficient, computer controlled electric kilns and, most importantly of all, you can now buy one that will run off a 30 amp electrical supply, similar to the ones in many studios or garages. “To begin painting, select your bisque shape (a fired, white, unpainted piece of earthenware, also known as a “pottery blank”) and decorate it with your choice of non-toxic colours. When you’re happy with the design, dip the whole piece in a bucket of clear glaze and fire it in the kiln. Simple!” Hobby Ceramicraft sell ceramic painting supplies and run regular courses. www.hobbyceramicraft.co.uk
Artists & Illustrators 65
Gathering Information Leading landscape painter Mark Harrison shows you how to best collect reference material when working on location
WHAT TO TAKE
When sketching on location abroad, or indeed in your own country, it is important to keep the size and weight down of what you are carrying – particularly in a very hot climate. When I visited India recently, I had various requirements about what materials I needed to take. I needed to use paint that would dry quickly so I would have no problems with carrying the finished paintings, and I wanted to get everything into a small rucksack (so no big tubes of paint, which ruled out acrylics). However, I still preferred water-based paints, as they would rule out the need to carry solvents for cleaning brushes. I settled on gouache as I wanted strong colours and the tubes are nice and small. Winsor & Newton’s Primary Colour Set of six small tubes of 66 Artists
ABOVE Mark’s typical kit to take when searching for reference material
Designers Gouache in an easy-tocarry box was the perfect solution. I could mix most other colours with these and I bought an extra tube of white for the colour mixing. I stripped the watercolour cakes out of a Cotman Metal Sketchers Box and filled the empty tin with a set of Da Vinci watercolour brushes. The tin could also double as a mixing tray. I chose a large Moleskine watercolour sketchbook that opened out into a great panoramic format. A sealable plastic food container is useful to transport extra tubes of paint and fill
with water when painting – I use a wide-bottomed one for extra stability. For drawing, I wanted a strong black line that could show through or be overpainted by the gouache and settled on a black Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pen. I took the paints on the plane in my hand luggage. When going through the airport customs, I placed the tubes of gouache (14ml each, way below 100ml limit) in a plastic bag, as you would any other tube or liquid when you go through the x-ray machine.
USING WATER-BASED PAINTS RULES OUT THE NEED TO CARRY SOLVENTS FOR CLEANING BRUSHES
In a hot and chaotic country such as India, you need to be able to set up and work quickly, so anything to save time is important. I usually work on top of a mid-tone imprimatura (an initial layer of paint that acts as a coloured ground), as one can add highlights and shadows to it in order to quickly get together a tonally balanced picture. I often paint acrylic washes of differing neutrals on each page of my sketchbook at home before I leave the country. Acrylic is waterproof when dry, so the gouache I use over the top won’t ‘kick up’. The other main reference-gathering tool is the digital camera. I always take photographs of any sketching or painting location so that if I do decide to base a studio painting on it, I have all the information I need including any specific lighting. It is always advisable to have a back up camera with you. I use my iPhone, which incidentally has a good movie camera
and takes excellent quality stills to work with, particularly for figures. If you are painting cities and you missed something important in your sketch or photo, I have used Google Street View afterwards instead – see www.google.com/streetview. You can pan around to see the parts of the scene that you are missing and print off a screen shot to use alongside the rest of your reference material.
ABOVE Clearing Rain, Meenakshi Temple, oil on board, 46x91cm “I decided to paint the sun as if it were behind me, so the colours on the temple towers could be seen more clearly.”
Your own aesthetic will largely determine your location and what it is you are looking for. In my case, I like strong shapes and colours, as well as good lead-ins. When taking photos, always remember that you primarily want reference material for paintings and not necessarily great photos in their own right! In fact, working from a great photo can be limiting because you can end up merely copying it. I usually take some shots from either side of the primary location so that you have more to play with in terms of composing the painting back in the studio. I also like to make a drawing in situ of places that are of particular interest for a studio painting. Drawing helps to fix a scene in your memory because you will have spent time looking and soaking up the atmosphere. Finding a vantage point with the space to set up can be tricky. For Clearing Rain, Meenakshi Temple, I asked the owner of a shop with a good view of the temple in Madurai if I could paint from his balcony. He was happy to agree and I later bought a small item in return for his kindness. In a busy city, good vantage points can be limited. For crowded streets and markets, you must rely on the photos you take or resign yourself to being a great focus of curiosity. >
Artists & Illustrators
BACK IN THE STUDIO
Over these next two pages, you can see several examples of my original gouache sketches and reference photos, along with the finished studio paintings that I made from them. You can see how I have tried to evoke the atmosphere and light that I was unable to capture in my original references, due to changing weather conditions or lack of time. In the painting Quiero’s Street, Fort Cochin, for instance, I had to stop painting after 45 minutes when a rainstorm came over. The finished painting is an effort to capture what I saw when I first arrived. Likewise, in Dawn, Santa Cruz Basilica, Cochin, I changed the direction of the light source and the time of day in order to try and evoke a more “exotic” feel in a scene that was quite drab when I was actually there. I find it important to not stick too rigidly to the layout of the original reference material – above all, I just want to get across a sense of the place as I remember it. I will often move things around a bit, change the scale of some elements and, of course, leave other things out if I feel that they don’t add anything to the picture. Even though I may have some great reference material from which to work when I return home, a primary source of reference and inspiration for me is my memory of a place. In my opinion, you should never paint somewhere you have never visited and experienced first hand. www.paintingsbymarkharrison.com
RIGHT Dawn, Santa Cruz Basilica, Cochin, oil on board, 47x47cm “The light was very flat when I visited the basilica, so, as I wanted to have a lot of colour in the picture, I painted it as if in a dawn light.” 68 Artists
I CHANGED THE DIRECTION OF THE LIGHT SOURCE AND THE TIME OF DAY IN ORDER TO TRY AND EVOKE A MORE “EXOTIC” FEEL IN A DRAB SCENE
THE FINISHED PAINTING BELOW IS AN EFFORT TO CAPTURE THE SCENE AS I FIRST SAW IT, BEFORE THE RAINSTORM CAME OVER
BELOW Quiero’s Street, Fort Cochin, oil on board, 46x91cm “Here I tried to paint the light from memory as it was when I first arrived to sketch it – before the rain came!”
Artists & Illustrators
a still life in 8 steps
How to paint…
A still life in 8 steps Liz Balkwill proves that practice makes perfect as she guides us through this easy-to-follow pastel painting demonstration
few years ago, I bought a small, beaten-up paperback called Starting to Paint Still Life by Bernard Dunstan RA. It cost such a small amount of money for such a great find. It contained lots of practical and excellent advice and the following has stayed with me to this day: “There’s only one way to learn to paint – find what you like, paint it as well as you can, and go on doing it again and again.” Still life has always offered the artist the opportunity to set a series of challenges in a controlled situation. Far from being just a means of understanding artistic principles, painting still life can become totally addictive so be warned. The popularity of painting still life continues to grow with the influence of
the Daily Painting movement started in the US by Duane Keiser. Small paintings (the majority of which are still life) are posted on countless blogs and auctioned on websites such as Daily Paintworks, Etsy or eBay. In Dunstan’s book, first published in 1969, he suggested spending a day on a piece and making “small honest paintings”, so perhaps he was well ahead of the current trend.
Try Things ouT
Painting several small still life studies a week gives me the opportunity to try out ideas and work on technique. It allows momentum to build up: ideas or techniques can be carried over to the next painting and consolidated,
something that is made difficult if there are longer breaks between each work. I really enjoy the process of choosing my subject matter. Flea markets and bric-a-brac shops are a treasure trove. In supermarkets, I often buy groceries for their shape and colour – my motto is always, “Paint them first and eat them later.” Possibilities present themselves everywhere – often a ‘found’ still life makes very appealing subject matter. Although I try to work as much as possible from life, keeping a smart phone or small camera handy allows me to capture anything that appeals. As I start the process of arranging and composing, I remind myself that I paint to learn, rather than learn to paint. www.lizbalkwill.com
a still life in 8 steps
What you Will need…
I arrange my still-life objects in a shadow box, which I illuminate with a spotlight, so that the set-up acts like a stage set. I made the shadow box from pieces of foam board taped together to make three sides. These slot into a base to which I have tacked some doweling, which helps to hold the edges rigid. The aim is to trap the light in the box, in order to create interesting light and shadow patterns which fall over the objects within it. This allows for an underlying abstract quality to underpin the composition. My shadow box is placed on a sculpture stand so that I can alter the height. You could use a cardboard box placed on top of a table to achieve a similar effect.
• A cardboard box • Letraset ProMarkers in black and grey • A sketchbook • A water-based paint (for underpainting) • A sheet of Fisher 400 pastel paper, taped onto foam board • A selection of good quality soft pastels • A set of Faber-Castell Polychromos pastel sticks • A set of Faber-Castell Pitt pastel pencils
I like to vary the size, shape and texture of the objects in my still life compositions. It is important to me that the objects relate to each other, either through colour, association or perhaps in providing a narrative. Arranging the still life can take time, as I often change a number of factors, such as the height of the stand (to alter my viewpoint), the direction of the light, the number of objects and the spacing (to produce interesting negative shapes). I often complete this process in the late afternoon – I find that getting this part of the process well under way results in a real sense of purpose when I enter the studio the following day.
I keep a sketchbook dedicated to the planning of paintings, which is a good habit to pick up. I plan them by simplifying the arrangement into a pattern of tonal values. “Notan” is a Japanese concept referring to the underlying structure of light and dark areas, and it is a useful way to approach a thumbnail. A true notan has only two values, which forces you to choose whether a mid-value area should fall into either the light or the dark, and in the process creates a more interesting abstract shape. I tend to use three values for my notan: black and grey, with the white paper acting as the third value. I also like to use this stage to consider the way the eye is led around the composition (this is suggested by the red pen marks in the small diagram below the notan).
For this painting, I used a Fisher 400 pastel paper that takes water without the tooth lifting off. This allows me to do an underpainting, which helps to lock in the composition and values at the outset. This stage can be established fairly quickly as the notan should dictate the position of the elements within the painting. I apply pastel right up to the edges and, as a result, the initial drawing often gets lost in the process. As such, I don’t produce a detailed sketch to work over, but rather adjust and refine the drawing as the painting progresses.
Artists & Illustrators
a still life in 8 steps
I like to establish the lightest light and darkest dark, so that I know the scale I am working within. I started to lay down the background, considering the value and temperature in relation to the shadow cast by the bottle and the darkest areas of the bottle and the vessel. I kept this organised and worked from the background progressively forward to the objects at the front. I added some warmer notes to the overall cool value of the background â€“ this adds interest and provides a temperature contrast to the blue objects. Edges should be lightly blended and fairly soft. Keep this to a minimum so as not to â€˜deadenâ€™ the pastel.
I began the blue bottle by laying down the darkest areas first, before moving to the saturated areas and finally adding the reflected light. I kept squinting at the painting to make sure I kept the overall values correct in relation to the whole set-up. I then added the stem of the honesty seed pods seen through the bottle, before I added the highlights. I kept some areas of the highlight sharp edged and softened the rest. The honesty is a delight to paint and a pastel pencil helps to add the necessary detail.
I treated the clear glass bottle in much the same way as the blue one. The darker background could be seen through the major part of bottle, while the white of the vessel was also showing through. Squinting again, I tried to simplify the shapes that suggested the glass. The addition of the highlights then helped complete the illusion.
I started to resolve the painting at this stage, moving to the foreground and adding the blue and white cloth that acts as a lead into the composition. I worked on the mushrooms and suggested their reflection with a gentle touch of white on the worktop. I adjusted the shadows on the worktop to reflect a little of the background colour too. After a few last tweaks, I did two final checks for any areas that may have needed attention by looking at the painting in a mirror (faults in proportion are easier to spot in reverse) and then photographing it. A photograph always highlights any anomalies.
Discover the techniques that create award-winning artworks naomi tydeman Ri Shimmer, Summer, Silver and Moonrise [clockwise from bottom left], all watercolour on board Winner, Turner Watercolour Award, Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours Annual Exhibition 2013
“ live on the edge of a very shallow bay in Pembrokeshire. When the tide goes out, the groundwater runs across the sand to create the most gorgeous patterns and textures. “I didn’t use any specific reference material. I decided where the horizon line would be and then I wanted to see what course the paintings would take naturally. I’m still amazed by how a simple thing like water can influence the flow, density and form of a pigment. Left to its own devices, it follows the laws of gravity, evaporation and time, which is perfect for depicting the wildness of seascapes. “I always work on Daley-Rowney watercolour boards. They’re very heavy and expensive but
beautiful to paint on. I can chuck gallons of water at the surface and it won’t cockle. “I used a limited palette of three colours for each piece because I find colour distracting. I have a box of Winsor & Newton Artists’ Water Colours but find myself using lots of greys and blues, such is the weather in Pembrokeshire. “I’m mainly motivated by light, yet in order to create a sense of contrast, I paint thick and dark. For purists, this negates the whole point of the watercolour – its translucency – by completely blocking the passage of light and preventing it from bouncing back off the paper. It’s essential to create a dramatic effect.” www.naomitydeman.co.uk
• Use layers of colour to create strong contrasts. “To add a sense of depth to watercolours, I often mix three or four densities of the same colour, which make the paint almost opaque.” • Don’t rely on brushes to mimic movement. “Watercolours are a naturally unpredictable medium. If you’re making a seascape, take advantage and tilt your support to mirror the behaviour of water.” • Try working on a smaller support. “If you’re looking to exhibit your work but don’t live near to the major galleries, consider using a smaller surface to work on,” she says. “They can be just as powerful – and are much easier to carry on the train!”
Artists & Illustrators 73
The role of edges TroublEshooTing
In the final part of his series, artist and tutor ewan mcclure sets out six problems and solutions that will enhance your paintings
n this month’s troubleshooter, we’ll consider the role that edges have to play in enhancing (or compromising) the look of realism in naturalistic painting. As an area of study, edges are sometimes neglected, with most effort being directed at drawing, mixing accurate colours and applying them on target. If we leave the hardness or softness of the edges of the brushstrokes to accident, then important visual clues about space, lighting and material substance get overlooked. Edge quality is an invaluable tool of description. It is also a tool of expression, where a subtle manipulation of focus will guide the viewer through pictorial space, orchestrating the elements in terms of relative interest. A preference for hard or soft focus is largely a matter of taste, but as with any tool, it’s empowering to know how it works.
1. I’m a slave To The ouTlIne
In our earliest forays into art we’re often taught that neatness is a virtue because it requires patience and control. This is all well and good, but painting shapes with movement and atmosphere entails more than simply “colouring in” or painting to a strict outline. A huge variety of edge qualities can be achieved with oil paint. Below are four ways to banish the outline.
A soft trAnsition Place two colours side by side. Blur the edge using a clean, dry brush with soft bristles. Wipe the brush frequently with a paper towel.
A rough edge with some fusing Lay down the first colour. Apply the second in parallel strokes perpendicular to the contour.
A strong, decisive trAnsition Mix a mid-tone and apply it as a bridge between neighbouring colours. Harsh up close, this will appear soft from a distance.
A soft, flowing edge Apply strokes parallel to the contour, merging them into the neighbouring colour.
2. My painting looks too defined
An image with too many sharp edges can be jarring and unnatural to look at. This common tendency can give elements a flat, cut-out appearance, and hardens areas which should look soft to the touch. Squinting at the subject is the usual advice for seeing a generalised tonal structure (as discussed last month), but it is also a good way to judge how to depict edges too. Look for the sharpest edge while squinting. Try to soften all others in comparison, blurring certain boundaries entirely where areas of very close tone meet. The resulting play of so-called “lost and found edges” lends a sculptural depth and painterly fluidity to the whole.
3. My shadows look like objects
We know that shadows are immaterial, but if painted incorrectly they can read as material objects in their own right or holes cut from the canvas. If this is happening then more attention should be given to the edges of the shadows. The most graphic representation of this can be seen in this painting of an egg. We can see the “form shadow” on the egg itself, with its soft transitional edge into the light conveying the roundedness of the form. The edge of the cast shadow on the tabletop is sharpest closer to the object and softest further away. This softening would be more pronounced under a more diffuse light source.
4. My painting lacks depth
The most reliable mantra for the naturalistic painter is, “Paint what you see, not what you know.” Applying this rule without being discerning, however, will not result in the most convincing illusion of threedimensional reality. This is because of the eye’s ability to spontaneously focus wherever it is directed. A certain flattening will occur, as every element, near and far, is brought into a uniform focus on the picture plane. To avoid this, we must consciously soften edges as elements recede into space – second guessing, to some extent, what we see with what we know about the relative positions in space. The aim is to reproduce how the background areas appear in peripheral vision when the attention is held by the foreground.
Artists & Illustrators 75
6. i don’T know when To sTop adding deTail
5. There’s no clear cenTre of inTeresT
Recording everything indiscriminately will also undermine any hierarchy of visual importance, as everything vies for equal attention. It’s worth considering how things actually look when our eyes converge on a single object. In the second photo above, the apple was chosen as the centre of interest and all other elements diverged into blurry double vision. We’re not usually conscious of this happening since our whole attention is on the centre of interest, but if we remember to soften the edges of these secondary elements in the painting, it will keep the focus where it belongs. 76 Artists
Ewan’s work is included in the BP Portrait Award 2013 exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery, which runs until 15 September. ewanmcclure. wordpress.com
Too much visual information can weaken the coherence of any statement you might want to make with your painting. The previous pointers encourage softening the edges of certain elements, but that can be harder than it sounds when we are used to copying what our eyes perceive. For some painters, selecting and simplifying reality carries a fear of getting “unrealistic” results or neglecting something vital. It would be good to be able to perceive spatial regression and the softening of edges directly rather than by guesswork or the use of photography. A sheet of traditional non-reflective glass positioned before the subject will have this effect (a sheet of normal glass or clear Perspex with a misting of hairspray is a good alternative). The slightly frosted surface texture has an increasingly blurring effect on elements the deeper they recede. Unnecessary details will be pushed back, while foreground objects will appear to stand out. Several layers can be applied until the desired softening is achieved.
The Society of Botanical Artists DISTANCE LEARNING DIPLOMA COURSE
• A unique course in botanical painting based on textbooks The Art of Botanical Painting, The Botanical Palette and Botanical Sketchbook. • Assignment-led two-year course: eleven separate assignments and a Diploma portfolio specifically created to develop and hone skills. • Expert guidance and tuition: learn from experienced members of the Society, specialists in the fields of pencil, coloured pencil, gouache and watercolour. • Comprehensive marking structure: critiques and marking delivered after each assignment. • Meet Tutors and fellow students at the Introductory meeting in the first year and a Seminar in the second year of the course, both during the Society’s Annual Open Exhibition in London. Applications being taken now for the 11th annual course starting in January 2014. Applications close 30 September 2013.
To obtain a prospectus, registration form and comprehensive details including fees and payment methods, contact the Society on 01747 825718 or visit the website to download a copy. Course 8 Diploma work by Janene Walkky DipSBA(Dist)
www.soc-botanical-artists.org Please support the Charity, Registration No. 1110869
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For more details call 01262 420068 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org FRANCE
Cubertou Art Holidays Short Courses in a Stunning Location
South West France Beginners to Advanced Explore a range of media or do your ‘own thing’.
A Painting Week
deep in the dramatic mountains
near beautiful St Ives
September 27-29, A weekend course
‘The Big Blue’ (The Arts of Cornwall) focusing on the artists & writers magnetised to the area
and painting workshops see website for details
October 5th – 12th 2013
www.artscircle.net • email@example.com
Painting Holidays in the Sunny South of Spain Departures January to November No single supplement
% 020 8385 2024
www.paint-andalucia.com SCOTLAND The
Creative Retreat Scotland
Art Holidays - Short Courses
Affordable breaks and quality tuition in an unspoiled fishing village. Places still left for autumn courses - studios and houses for personal or group hire.
T: 01261 812276 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Inspired by shape, movement, colour and atmosphere, with an emphasis on drawing, I love the translucency and immediacy of watercolour, the vibrant brush marks of oils and the expressive lines and subtle tones of a drawing” (Jennifer Johnson) Almassera Vella in an ancient village midst olive and almond groves on amazing ‘bancal’ terraces Delicious Spanish cuisine, delightful rooms. Jennifer, an inspired tutor, has been running Painting weeks for many years in Devon, France and Spain.
£750 All inclusive save insurance and flights.
Christopher and Marisa North Almassera Vella Chirstopher@oldolivepress.com
www.schoolofpainting.co.uk 01736 797180
Charity No. 1083981
One and Two Day Art Courses
Tutors include: Richard Taylor, Jamel Akib, Roger Dellar, Joe Dowden, Charles Evans, Tim Fisher, Soraya French, Margaret Glass, Hazel Lale, Carole Massey, Keith Morton, Andrew Pitt and many more..... • Friendly, rural studio with good home cooking • Excellent local accommodation
Call Allison Bond for details:
01255 820466 Email: email@example.com
www.watershedstudio.co.uk St Clere’s Hall Lane, St Osyth, Clacton on Sea, Essex, CO16 8RX
Many destinations to choose from ● ● ● ● ●
Mendip Hills (inc Cheddar Gorge & Wells) Exmoor National Park North Devon Coast Wye Valley Isle of Wight
● Andalucia, Spain *NEW* ● Algarve, Portugal *NEW*
Tutors inc David Bellamy, Rob & Sian Dudley, Charles Evans, Jeremy Ford, Terry Harrison and many more
ART IN THE ALGARVE
outdoor culinary & creative escapes
We provide bespoke painting holidays in the charming town of Olhão in the Eastern Algarve. 1 week courses from just £695 p/p including full board & tuition in our exceptionally large art school. Tutors include Roger Dellar, Grahame Booth, Bettina Schroeder, Paul Riley, Dawn Oliver and many more.
www.artinthealgarve.com call: 0203 287 7140 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: 01934 744188
cookery courses & winery tours outdoor activities, art retreats direct contact with the owners
To advertise in the Artists & Illustrators Classified Directory please call 020 7349 3738 Vacaza_Flyer60X18mm_Outdoor_06022013_Final.indd 6-2-2013 1 16:55:26
To advertise here please call 020 7349 3738
The Classified direCTory HOLIDAYS WORLDWIDE
Painting Safari Kenya 30 July 6 Aug Painting Safariinin Kenya 30-July - 6 Aug with EssentialSchool SchoolofofPainting Painting . Paint, draw with The Essential . Paint, draw andand photograph the Great Migration of the animals and stunning photograph the Great Migration of the animals and stunning landscape of Mara, award winning landscape of the theMasai MasaiMara Mara,staying stayingininananaward award winning luxury tented camp. 020 8 521 luxury camp. T: 0208 0208 5216058 6058M: M:07906189855 07906189855
www.theessentialschoolofpainting.com www.theessentialsch oolofpainting.com www.theessentialschoolofpainting.com Project17
ALAN LONGMOREâ€™S ART WORKSHOPS PORTRAITS IN OILS & ANIMALS IN PASTELS
Portrait painting using the techniques of the Old Masters. Tuition of Animal paintings on velor paper using soft pastels.
T. +44 (0) 2392 388449 email: email@example.com www.alanlongmore.com
WORKSHOPS IN OILS & ACRYLICS
FINE ART REPRODUCTIONS
Making Art Work
Printed by litho graphic printers
Reproduce your oil, water, pastel, and pen & ink paintings, into prints, cards or posters, in 4 colour with light fast inks. Sizes from A6 105mm x 148mm up to " MM X MM 3HORT RUN SPECIALISTS s LIMITED QUANTITY COPIES (IGHEST QUALITY LITHO PRINTING ON MANY VARIED PAPER STOCKS Prism, Unit 28, School Close, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, Hampshire, SO53 4RA s PRISMPROOl NG NTLWORLDCOM
RISM PROOFING 3X1 3.indd 1
Fine Art GiclĂŠe Printing HahnemĂźhle and Somerset Papers Photography and Scanning Service Greeting Cards and Postcards Professional and Friendly Advice Free Art Guides and Samples Project6 30/11/09 09:19 Page Call us on 01656 652447 www.geminidigitalcolour.co.uk
Painting Safari in Kenya 30 July - 6 Aug Let us be your Fine Art
with The Essential School of Painting. Paint, draw and GiclĂŠe Printer. photograph the Great Migration of the animals and stunning Printer landscape of theAccredited Masai staying in a luxury tented since Mara 2003 camp. T: 02085302878 M: 07906189855 www.salt-of-the-earth.biz
Learn glazing and impasto techniques 2 day workshops in the Cotswolds Cost: ÂŁ160 All equipment and materials provided Inspirational and enlightening All levels
+44 (0)1747 852 221 www.theessentialschoolofpainting.co.uk/ESOP www.theessentialschoolo fpainting.co.uk/ESOP
T: 01367 252206 E:firstname.lastname@example.org
â€˘ â€˘ â€˘
Greetings Cards 30/04/2013 Postcards GiclĂŠe Printing
SOTEad Art/Illust 1/13.indd 1
Artist & Illustrator
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To advertise here please call 020 7349 3738
BARGAIN! Selwyns used, brass browser display sleeves. 2 sizes and stands. From ÂŁ3 each plus vat. Tel. Sally Mitchell Fine Arts Ltd. 01 777 838 234.
To advertise in the Artists & Illustrators Classified Directory please call 020 7349 3738
CLASSIFIED DIRECTORY The THE Classified direCTory AI Qtr Pg Strip 202x60 150513_Layout 1 16/05/2013 15:53 Page 1
«clikpic» Websites for artists and photographers Great websites for only £40 pa ( includes ecommerce ) Clikpic is an award-winning service for any artist or photographer who wants a great website without the cost and hassle of setting one up. With minimal expertise required, you can use our online admin system, a variety of beautifully designed templates and a vast array of additional functionality, to create your own website quickly, easily and very cost-effectively.
Visit www.clikpic.com for a FREE 14 day trial WIMBLEDON 3X1
PROPERTY FOR SALE
Wimbledon Art Studios 020 8947 1183,
www.wimbledonartstudios.co.uk Dynamic artist community with studios available from £40 per wk, open 24/7 with good natural light
To advertise in the Artist & Illustrators Art Shop Directory please call 020 7349 3738
THE ART SHOP DIRECTORY DEVON THE BLUE GALLERY
16 Joy Street, Barnstaple EX31 1BS Tel: 01271 343536 email@example.com www.bluegallery.co.uk
SOUTH WEST ART
Old Fore Street, Sidmouth EX10 8LP Tel: 01395 514717 firstname.lastname@example.org www.southwestartmaterials.co.uk Quality fine art materials, gallery and picture framing.
EAST SUSSEX LAWRENCE ART SUPPLIES
Huge range of art supplies – Sussex Art Shop, Mail Order and Online Shop 208 Portland Road, Hove BN3 5QT Tel: 01273 260260 www.lawrence.co.uk Customer car park. Everything from painting to printmaking. Fast mail order service.
Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet Essex CM24 8AP Tel: 01279 812009/ 01279 816659 Fax: 01279 812741 email@example.com www.millwaystationery.co.uk
GLOUCESTERSHIRE PEGASUS ART – suppliers of the finest art materials Griffin Mill, London Road Thrupp, Stroud, Glos GL5 2AZ Tel: 01453 886560 firstname.lastname@example.org www.pegasusart.co.uk
GWENT THE ART SHOP (MONS)
8 Cross Street Abergavenny NP7 5EH Tel: 01873852690 email@example.com www.artshopandgallery.co.uk
KENT GILBERT & CLARK FRAME AND PRINT
4 Mill Street, Maidstone Kent ME15 6XH Tel: 01622 685146 firstname.lastname@example.org www.gilbertandclark.com
LONDON ATLANTIS ART MATERIALS
– UK’s largest and one of Europes biggest art stores 68-80 Hanbury Street, London E1 5JL Tel: 0207 377 8855 Fax: 0207 3778850 www.atlantisart.co.uk Car parking, open 7 days.
LONDON LONDON ART
132 Finchley Road, Swiss Cottage, London NW3 5HS Tel: 020 7433 1571 email@example.com www.londonart-shop.co.uk We sell a wide range of Art & Craft materials.
RUSSELL & CHAPPLE
The Canvas Specialists 68 Drury Lane, London WC2B 5SP UK Tel: +44 (0)207 836 7521 Fax: +44 (0)207 497 0554 www.randc.net Custom canvases, linens, cottons and stretcher bars.
L. CORNELISSEN & SON
19th century shop near The British Museum Pigments,Gilding & Etching supplies, tubed colour, brushes, paper, pastels. 105 Gt. Russell Street, London WC1B 3RY Tel: +44 (0)20 7636 1045 www.cornelissen.com
STUART R. STEVENSON
Artists & Gilding Materials 68 Clerkenwell Road London EC1M 5QA Tel: 020 7253 1693 firstname.lastname@example.org www.stuartstevenson.co.uk
LONDON INTAGLIO PRINTMAKER
The Specialist Supplier of Fine Art Printmaking Products 9 Playhouse Court, 62 Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 0AT Tel: 020 7928 2633 Fax: 020 7928 2711 email@example.com www.intaglioprintmaker.com Wide range of tools available to try in our store (near Tate Modern).
WEST MIDLANDS HARRIS MOORE
Fine Art Supplies Unit 12 Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley St, Birmingham B5 5RT Tel: 0121 633 3687 firstname.lastname@example.org www.harrismoorecanvases.co.uk Specialists in Artists Canvases and Professional Painting Supplies.
TYNE & WEAR DETAILS ART SHOP
at Newcastle Arts Centre 67 Westgate Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear NE1 1SG Tel: 0191 2615999 E-shop: www.details.co.uk A Winsor & Newton Premier Arts Centre located near the Central Station. Online information: www.newcastle-arts-centre.co.uk
To advertise here please call 020 7349 3738
What’s the best part of your job? I like it when something is finished and I feel creatively fulfilled. [But] the feeling doesn’t last long enough and it is replaced by an impatience for what I want to do next.
What’s your first memory of art? I remember, at the age of two or three, drawing a large face in red crayon. The adults were surprised I’d added details like eyelashes. I learned that making drawings could be rewarded by interest and attention from the grown-up world.
Travel is a big part of your work – where is your favourite place? For sheer inspiration, Paris is somewhere I’ve returned to again and again. My new book, Paris Sketchbook, is the culmination of a life-long fascination with the city and I fell in love with it even more while working on the book. Hopefully some of that inspiration will rub off on the readers.
Was your family artistic? Yes, my parents are both very artistic. My mum was a graphic designer and my stepfather taught at an art college, so there were always art materials lying around when I was growing up. Your website says you were commissioned in your teens. How did you start so young? At the age of six or seven, I was asked to make covers for school play programmes. These were early experiences of seeing my work in print. At 13, my big passion was windsurfing and I used to send drawings to windsurfing companies and magazines. They would sometimes use my illustrations and send me a cheque for £50 or so. How was your time at art college? My first college experience was a foundation course in Brighton, which was very exciting. Suddenly being in room full of other people who loved drawing and painting was a revelation.
JASON BROOKS The award-winning Vogue illustrator shares his secret ambition and reveals what it takes to make a great fashion illustration INTERVIEW: STEVE PILL
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? My stepfather Graham, who is an amazing artist, always told me, “There is an art in knowing when to stop”. What have you sacrificed for your art? When I was younger I broke up with a few girlfriends because I wanted to spend all my time making pictures. With a wife and two young children, I have a better balance in my life now. What is your studio like? My studio is in a first floor flat in a beautiful square in Hove. There are tall windows and a balcony where I can see the sea. Along one wall there is a bookcase about 12-feet high with a ladder. This is
a dream for me, as I have always loved books. Which artists or illustrators do you turn to for inspiration? I tend to take influence from all over the place: it might be David Hockney one day or René Gruau on another. I don’t look at many illustrators, but I admire Laura Laine’s quirky style (below) and I like Aurore de la Morinerie’s mark-making and colour sense.
What is the key to a good fashion illustration? I look for originality, a strong graphic quality and accurate observation. I like it when clothes are described in a way that gives you information about them too. Apart from art, what is your biggest talent? I have a secret ambition to be a film director but that is still art, so I would say playing poker. I’ve been playing for 15 years or so. Paris Sketchbook is published by Laurence King. www.jason-brooks.com
ISTOCK; JASON BROOKS; LAURA LAINE
What was your big break? Winning a travel bursary to Mexico and Guatemala for three months run by Thames TV. This was an unforgettable adventure. It was followed by winning the Vogue Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Award for Fashion Illustration. On the strength of my travel sketchbooks, I began working regularly for British Vogue (above).
MY LIFE IN ART
Are your sketchbooks really as neat as they look? My sketchbooks are more disorganised, but I wanted to bring some order and purpose to Paris Sketchbook so that it would work on different levels. The end result is a collection of artwork inspired by the city but it’s also a guidebook featuring some of my favourite places in Paris.
The Princeâ€™s School of Traditional Arts
Short Courses i n
t r a d i t i o n a l
A r t s
The Princeâ€™s School of Traditional Arts offers a series of short courses and workshops for the public which teach the philosophical principles and practical techniques of the traditional arts of the great civilizations of the world. The courses are part of the Open Programme - a series of events in collaboration with the Farjam Collection. Students on the courses will have the opportunity to study and appreciate some of the finest masterpieces of this unique collection.
Geometry Painting Arabesque Applied Arts Calligraphy Subject modules include a wide variety of courses Students can take courses individually or as modules to work towards a diploma
P S TA
www.psta.org.uk/openprogramme email@example.com 020 7613 8547
Published on Jun 14, 2013
For our summer special, we took four of the UK's leading plein air painters out on location. Learn all of their tricks and tips for getting...